After seven years, House Republicans greatest wish to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has finally come true, but sometimes one has to be careful what they wish for. “The American Health Care Act” is now out in the open. Draft legislation had been carefully guarded by U.S. Capitol Police in a basement room adjoining the Capitol, for only Republican eyes. Already, we see no mention of “affordable” there, as well as some strange priorities on display. Let the dissections commence!
The Bill was released without a Congressional Budget Office score. The Office had projected that Obamacare would save the government money in long run. The repeal and replace has been projected to cost $350 billion through 2027 under conventional scoring by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Releasing this new bill without a score after secretly authoring it in a basement might indicate that Republicans knew negative feedback was imminent. Do ya think?
Donald Trump also learned that health care is complicated in the process.
“It’s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” Trump told a gathering of governors.
Some strange priorities…
Slate revealed that the bill devoted six pages to discuss how health care options would change for lottery winners. The word lottery was mentioned 11 times, which is the same number of times Medicaid was mentioned. So 10 percent of the bill revolves around preventing Lottery winners from receiving Medicaid.
What can possibly justify this fixation on such a tiny percentage of the population? Just a guess, but maybe part of that is that many people in the GOP believe they will win a lottery of sorts –that just voting for the rich means they, too, might become rich. For the GOP, are the odds ever in their favor?
Along with worrying about sneaky lottery winners, a certain Republican you may know named Jason Chaffetz is lecturing Americans bracing for the Not-So-Affordable American Health Care Act that they might have to go without to pay for their new plans. This from a man who receives taxpayer-funded healthcare benefits…
“And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own health care — they’ve got to make those decisions themselves,” said Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
See the video below from America’s Best Christian, Mrs. Betty Bowers:
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) March 7, 2017
The new bill also predictably seeks to strip all funding for Planned Parenthood, with a focus on embryos based in religious ideology. Federal law bars the use of money specifically for abortions, but the abortion issue is a permanent Republican fixation. Every sperm is still sacred. Defunding PP will impact millions of women who receive care in these clinics.
Some rare good news, mixed with more bad…
CNN reports that Republicans have surprisingly maintained coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowed children to stay on parent’s plans until age 26. However, the subsidies of Obamacare are to be replaced by refundable tax credits over a three-year period. Experts warn that millions of people may lose access to insurance thanks to these changes.
Medicaid expansion will continue until 2020. Four Republican Senators sent a letter to Mitch McConnell saying they would oppose the bill if Medicaid wasn’t protected since they came from states where the expansion was accepted. There are 52 Republicans in the Senate, and 51 are needed to pass the Bill. There is likely zero Democrat support. With the vote this close, we can be hopeful that Medicaid expansion will remain, for now.
Something that Republicans will likely sell as highly favorable for their constituents is the repeal of the individual mandate requiring Americans to maintain health insurance, or face a penalty tax. Repealing the individual mandate means you won’t be penalized for going uninsured, but insurance providers will now be allowed to impose a surcharge of 30 percent for those who have a gap between health plans. People are still encouraged to maintain coverage, only now the benefit goes to insurance companies if people lapse in coverage.
The new plan is off to a rocky start already, not to mention that it also predictably fails to address soaring prescription drug prices. Bernie Sanders plan to require Medicare to bargain with drug companies for better prices will remain, for now, a plan backed only by the people, but not by Republicans and their Big Pharma cash-waving interest groups.