Determined to deliver an anniversary death blow to Barack Obama’s signature health care law with a Thursday vote, congressional Republicans have been scrambling to get a holy mess of a replacement through the House.
If their original “replacement” for the Affordable Care Act was flawed to the point of cruelty – yanking health insurance from 14 million people next year to give tax cuts to the wealthy – Trumpcare is now a sick Frankenstein, thanks to a hodgepodge of amendments tacked on for GOP moderates and the hard right.
The tweaks haven’t helped much. Hospitals, doctors and nurses are railing against the measure, which over the next decade would leave about as many Americans without coverage as there were before Obamacare’s 2010 passage. Many Republican governors oppose it, too, due to the breathtaking costs it would impose on states as federal subsidies for Medicaid patients are rolled back.
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Libertarians deride it as Obamacare Lite; compassionate conservatives quail at the 24 million people who would end up without coverage over the next decade. And the little subsidy bumps that make private insurance slightly less unaffordable for older people don’t begin to make up for, say, the amendment letting states force Medicaid recipients to work for their health care.
In California, the current proposal would shift some $6 billion in health costs onto the state by 2020. Among the potential casualties? Hundreds of millions of dollars for a program that has allowed more than 480,000 elderly and disabled Californians to stay in their homes with aides, rather than go to nursing homes and institutions.
Watching McCarthy, Nunes and others kowtow to Trump, at no small cost to their own credibility and reputation, you have to wonder what’s even in it for them, let alone their home state.
“This is a dangerous bill, written by people who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about,” Gov. Jerry Brown warned on Wednesday. He is right.
President Donald Trump has threatened to gin up primary challenges for House Republicans who oppose Trumpcare. Even in California, the only GOP congressman leaning “no” at last count was Rep. Darrell Issa, who barely held his seat in November. Indeed, Trump is being enthusiastically backed up by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Reps. Tom McClintock and Devin Nunes.
Each has perhaps 100,000 or more constituents back home who, thanks to Obamacare, finally have health insurance. Each could easily have taken the time to actually fix the flaws in the current system, rather than slap this cynical rush job together.
But they didn’t. And watching them kowtow to Trump, at no small cost to their own credibility and reputation, you have to wonder what’s in it for them, let alone their home state. Trump has his diehards, but his approval rating was down to 37 percent at last count, and a Politico/Morning Consult poll showed support for Trumpcare wasn’t much higher.
You know what was actually is higher, though? Obamacare’s 46 percent approval rating. Trump’s demands to the contrary, the American public is not clamoring for worse health care.
You don’t have to do this, Republicans.