It is difficult to make the call but I’ll go out on a limb and say the American Health Care Act (ACHA) was the biggest American political story of last week. I like pinning the tail on the donkey and we all know a synonym for donkey that starts with the letter “A” is very appropriate when you consider the most popular nickname for the bill is Trumpcare. Today I want to concentrate on the CBO’s (Congressional Budget Office) report and the Republican reaction to it. Let’s explore.
Lost in the hoopla is the fact that the CBO found that Obamacare is not in a death spiral; so much for Paul Ryan’s, “Act of mercy” line. If you can commit an act of mercy on yourself I suggest Ryan do what his predecessor did – resign. I bet John Boehner is enjoying life a lot more these days!
The bill is in trouble. I think it will have great difficulty getting enough Republican votes to pass in the House and is DOA in the Senate. Remember the Republicans can get it through the Senate via reconciliation which means the filibuster doesn’t apply and all they need is 50 votes (Pence could be called upon for a second time in this young administration to break a Senate tie in its favor).
The preemptive assault on the CBO took two paths after it released its report saying the bill, if enacted, would take health insurance away from 14 to 24 million Americans and would eventually reduce the deficit. The Republicans liked the latter so they said the CBO was good at counting dollars. They hated the former so in the same breath they claimed the CBO was bad at counting people. Am I the only one who finds it interesting that they thought the CBO was good at what from their perspective was good news and simultaneously bad at what they considered bad news?
They reasoned that the CBO had not taken into account that their health care overhaul was a three pronged program and the current bill was only the first phase. Now remember that I’m far from alone in rating the current legislations chances of passage as less than a slam dunk. Therefore if phase one is in trouble why would the CBO or anyone else for that matter consider phases two and three (which don’t even exist yet) to be sure things?
To listen to the Republican tale Phase Two actually would be easy to enact. Of course it is predicated on Phase One becoming reality which is a bold assumption. Phase Two would strictly be regulatory and under the control of HHS Secretary Tom Price. I find it perfectly believable that Price will do whatever Trump tells him with total disregard to his actions’ negative effect on his fellow Americans.
If you choose to believe Phase One and Two will become reality Phase Three is still a stretch worthy of a Hall of Fame first baseman! Phase Three is legislative and it cannot be passed in the Senate via reconciliation. Therefore it will need sixty votes. On the assumption that they can hold all 52 Republicans (which in not likely) which eight Democrats do they think are going to cross over?
The Republicans are showing their true colors in this bill. They are the Reverse Robin Hood Party. The current proposal calls for $883 billion in tax cuts (almost exclusively for the wealthy) over the next ten years. How are these “fiscal conservatives” going to pay for it? Over that same time period the legislation calls for an $880 billion cut to Medicaid. Steal from the poor and give to the rich.
The more we learn about this legislation to worse it is! I hope I’m correct and it will not become law. I’m among those who want to see universal, single payer health care for all. Under our current system it would probably take the shape of Medicare for all. That probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Obamacare is the next best thing. Instead of trying to destroy it why don’t the Republicans fix it? No money in that I guess.
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