Editorials

Where to send the California Republicans who backed that awful Obamacare repeal

President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday after the House pushed through a health care bill. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, is at far right.
President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday after the House pushed through a health care bill. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, is at far right. The Associated Press

There’s a place we won’t name for the 217 House Republicans – including every one in the California delegation – who voted Thursday for the despicable scam replacement for Obamacare.

Publicly, they may claim that they did Americans a favor. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, nattered cheerily after the vote – as crowds shouted, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” – about “lower premiums” and “more choice” and how destroying the Affordable Care Act was the only way to save it.

Privately, though, they know that their American Health Care Act is little more than a nearly $300 billion tax cut for the rich at the brutal expense of sick and vulnerable people. Just because they keep repeating the lie that Obamacare is a “catastrophe” doesn’t erase the great swath of America that benefits from it.

If the House plan becomes law, letting states opt out of crucial protections, safeguards for those with pre-existing conditions will be gutted. Workplace insurance won’t have to cap your out-of-pocket expenses.

As this travesty unfolds, voters should remember.

The Medicaid expansion will be rolled back, throwing millions of poor people off the rolls, and Medicaid itself will be cut by $880 billion over the next decade.

In California, where Medi-Cal covers a third of the population, the loss of federal funds would punch a $6 billion hole in the budget by 2020 and punish millions.

Pricey mandated coverage that, before Obamacare, insurers were loathe to offer – for emergency services, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, maternity care – would be up to the states; as premiums soar, most would drop it.

Planned Parenthood will lose the Medicaid reimbursement that allows it to treat STDs and offer free contraception to low income women. California will have to choose between continuing to cover abortion for impoverished women on Medi-Cal, or losing federal tax credits.

Analysis of a less Draconian version of this bill, done earlier this year by the Congressional Budget Office, indicated that more than 24 million people would lose their insurance. There’s no telling how many would suffer under the meaner version passed Thursday because the House voted blind, refusing to wait even a week for the CBO to determine its impact.

Some moderates clearly voted aye to avoid a primary challenge from the right, hoping the plan’s worst aspects will be cleaned up in the Senate. But what kind of sadist dangles a sword like this over a frightened public?

And in any case, there are no guarantees that the Republicans running the Senate will display more courage than the House.

As this travesty unfolds, voters should remember.

Remember the backslapping at the White House as President Donald Trump threatened the health of millions.

Remember McCarthy on the dais, saying how great this plan was for Iowa when half of his own district in Kern County is on Medi-Cal.

Remember the Republicans in swing districts who walked the plank – ahoy, Rep. Jeff Denham of Turlock and Rep. David Valadao of Hanford – pretending that a fig-leaf subsidy wouldn’t still gouge millions with pre-existing conditions.

Remember Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, whose rural constituents pleaded in vain at town halls for him to preserve their health care.

Then ask in 2018 whether your health can afford keeping people like this in office. Or whether they should go to, well, someplace else.

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