The midterm election political ads write themselves. Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and House Republicans taking a victory lap in the White House Rose Garden celebrating a singular vote for taking away health care from millions of Americans while giving a gigantic tax cut to the very wealthiest. No matter that the bill the passed has zero chance of passing the more deliberate Senate as is. Republicans that voted for it are now in political peril. And rightly so.
Paul Ryan was right in 2009:
Let’s stipulate to the following:
• The Senate will not pass the bill as is.
• Trump and the GOP are celebrating a bill that will never become law.
• To what is extent the coverage of preexisting conditions will be covered is in question.
• Planned Parenthood would be defunded for a year. Americans who have utilize PP are middle- and lower-income folks.
• We don’t know what this bill will cost because there is no determination by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
• The last version of this bill—which was never voted on but was scored by the CBO—would have tossed 24 million Americans off health care.
• There was no public hearing on this bill.
• There are problems with the Obamacare exchanges. There has been no attempt by Republicans to fix the exchanges.
• The people who will lose health coverage are largely in states Trump won. Fourteen Republican congressmen who are from districts Hillary Clinton won voted for this bill.
There is a political axiom that remains true: when you give something to the American people, it is nearly impossible to take it away. And trying to it is politically perilous.
A major part of the debate on this bill was over how—or if—it would cover preexisting conditions. Originally, the answer was no. The bill allows states to opt-out of covering them. Coverage for pregnancies, asthma, cancer and other conditions would skyrocket. Moderates hedged.
In their pass-it-at-all-cost approach, Republicans did what they always accuse Democrats of doing. They threw money at it. $8 billion to exact. It’s completely unknown how that funding would be applied or how effective it will be.
The bottom line—and every Republican who voted for this bill knows this—is that the very richest Americans will get a huge tax break as the taxes that paid for the subsidies so poorer Americans could have health insurance are rolled back. Instead of the Obamacare subsidies that are tied to income and premiums, this would provide refundable tax credits based on age to purchase health insurance. After 2020, states that expanded Medicaid so lower income folks could get coverage will no longer have federal money to pay for it.
This just-passed bill also allows insurance companies to charge more for those in their 50s and 60s. By the way, these people vote.
If you support this, fine. You have to live with yourself.