Yesterday was the day for which America has been waiting since, well, forever. In the 1994 Republican manifesto, The Contract For America, Republicans including Ohio’s radical governor John Kasich failed to write one word about healthcare.
Washington Republicans have complained throughout President Barack Obama’s two terms [2009-2017] in office that his historic national health plan — The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [ACA] — is broken and failed.
On Monday they finally revealed a budget reconciliation health plan they say will cure the problems in the ACA. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who ran as vice president on the 2012 GOP presidential ticket that lost badly to President Obama, has promised the moon on health care reform.
For those who have reviewed the 123-page House plan called The American Health Care Act [AHCA] that’s now been dubbed “Trumpcare,” it looks like a lump of coal for tens of millions who will pay more and get less in return if the GOP plan becomes law as proposed.
The president, as expected, tweeted approvingly. “Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation. ObamaCare is a complete and total disaster – is imploding fast!”
Democrats, independents and everyone else in between who know a thing or two about the ACA and what’s it done to move past the tremendously complicated and outrageously expensive health care system that was the norm before the ACA became effective six years ago, know the GOP plan is filled with flaws that represent a cancer for so many who are destined to be hurt by it one way or another.
Dems Comment On ‘Trumpcare’
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown weighed-in on Trumpcare, saying his constituents have called his office, terrified of losing their healthcare because of this plan. “We cannot allow Washington politicians who get taxpayer-funded health insurance to rip coverage away from Ohioans who are battling cancer, getting regular checkups for the first time, or finally getting treatment to beat their opioid addiction,” he said in prepared remarks Tuesday.
Ohio’s senior senator said Trumpcare will raise prices for Ohioans – particularly older Ohioans – and kick people off of the coverage they have today. It will also threaten jobs across the state by cutting funding for local hospitals that employ hundreds of thousands of Ohioans.
“This plan does nothing to lower healthcare costs for Ohioans, but hands a huge tax break to drug companies and insurance executives who jack up their prices,” Brown said.
The plan was revealed without Congressional Budget Office financial “scoring,” but even so, it’s been deemed a very, very bad plan.
Jessica Mackler, President of American Bridge, a progressive group, offered some comments on AHCA.
“For years Republicans have been hiding their plans from the American people,” she said. “Now we know why: with Trump in the White House they are planning to eliminate insurance coverage for millions of Americans, raise costs for seniors, defund Planned Parenthood and do it all so that health care executives and the very wealthiest get a tax break. Once again, President Trump is selling out American families.”
Indeed, a big gap opens up between what the plan intends to do and what President Donald Trump said he would support. The president said everyone will be covered, but the AHCA doesn’t do that, starting with the elimination of the individual mandate that sought to balance health pools with sick and not-sick populations.
New high-risk pools will face higher costs as younger, not-sick people chose not to buy health coverage, forcing for-profit health insurance companies to guard their profit stream by upping the cost for those who need it most, but who likely won’t be able to afford it.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif took aim, saying, “Republicans have decided that affordable health care should be the privilege of the wealthy, not the right of every family in America.”
Speaking Tuesday morning on the senate floor, Washington State Sen Patty Murray [D], said the bill will leave people sicker and more vulnerable.
Trumpcare would be a disaster for workers and families, she said, noting that the proposal will only help the wealthiest and insurance companies. For women, Sen. Murray said the bill is a “wish list” for those who want to control women’s bodies.
“I could not oppose this bill more strongly, and will do everything I can to fight back against it,” she said.
Brill Is Brilliant
Even though Republicans like Mr. Ryan and his ilk have tried to torpedo the ACA everyday and in every way, the law has shown itself to be a major advance over the carnage that once was the status quo in America.
Steven Brill, the preeminent expert on health care in America and the author of the definitive work on health care in America, “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us,” said the GOP proposal delays some very bad policy until after 2018 with more bad policy coming in 2020, the next presidential election year.
Brill dissects the problem, saying there would be no Obamacare without the support of such industries as the drug companies, non-profit hospitals, and medical device makers.
“They are currently ‘happy’ making more money under that law” and represent an opposition bloc to a replacement law that will affect their financial interests, according to Brill. In the past, he said, “every turn to cut costs…were stopped by these industries and their lobbyists.”
The Republican plan replaces income-based tax credits with credits that would rise with age. The age-based tax credits for people with low incomes would be slim, with credits for higher-earning people phasing out.
The bill would continue President Obama’s expansion of Medicaid to additional low-earning Americans until 2020. After that, states adding Medicaid recipients would no longer receive the additional federal funds the statute has provided.
Republicans would overhaul the federal-state Medicaid program, changing its open-ended federal financing to a limit based on enrollment and costs in each state, according to reporting in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Popular consumer protections, including insurance safeguards for people with pre-existing medical problems and parents’ ability to keep their children on their insurance until age 26, are retained.
Tiberi, Portman At Odds On Trumpcare
Four moderate Republican senators, including Rob Portman of Ohio, signed a letter saying a House draft that they had reviewed did not adequately protect people in states like theirs that have expanded Medicaid under the law. Gov. John Kasich has lobbied to keep Medicaid expansion.
Central Ohio Congressman Pat Tiberi, chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, released a statement on the bill.
“The American Health Care Act is our plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a 21st century system that gives people better access to quality and affordable health care,” he said in prepared remarks. “It contains specific reforms to provide relief from Obamacare’s taxes and mandates, and gives patients the tools they need to be in charge of their own care, like increased access to health savings accounts and tax credits to help individuals and families purchase the care they need.”