We now know that the revised Republican repeal of Obamacare is really intended to dismantle and perhaps destroy any federally-funded health care program, which would return health care to either cash-starved states or private industry; to the high cost, broken healthcare system it was before Obamacare. And all this is to give the wealthiest among us a tax break they don’t need?
We know because the CBO and JCT estimate just out says that, in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under H.R. 1628 than under current law. The increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number projected under current law would reach 19 million in 2020 and 23 million in 2026.
We also know this because no public hearings were held on the House plan and none are planned for the still-secret Senate plan, something that Senator Diane Feinstein said has never happened before for major legislation in her 40 years in Congress.
And it is a very major bill. For instance, in 2026, an estimated 51 million people under age 65 would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law, according to the CBO. Under the legislation, a few million of those people would use tax credits to purchase policies that would not cover major medical risks, but their costs would rise because no longer protected by the ACA prohibition against raising costs for those with pre-existing conditions, for example.
It therefore dismantles the possibility of affordable health care that covers pre-existing conditions for most Americans. It gives businesses and the wealthiest a juicy $664 billion reduction in taxes, which are the tax revenues needed to pay for the Obamacare state subsidies—mainly to reimburse states that cover their poorest Medicaid citizens. So, it’s to be paid for with a total of $1.111B in spending cuts for Medicaid and social security disability coverage.
It is what the white racist agenda of Tea Party Republicans and President Trump is leading us towards. It is what they mean by making American great again. Let us hope there are enough intelligent Senators to block what is being done in secrecy, in the hopes that most Americans won’t notice there is nothing great about leaving a total of 53 million in 10 years—mostly the elderly and poor—without any healthcare options except the most expensive, and a budget that wants to continue to redistribute our tax dollars to the wealthiest one percent where it will do the least good.
And in a coda, Senate Republicans face increasing pressure to rescue health insurance markets and protect coverage for millions of Americans amid growing fears that the Trump administration is going to let the markets collapse, said the LA Times.
This is because President Trump has repeatedly threatened to withhold federal aid that helps millions of low-income Americans afford their deductibles and co-pays. The aid, which reimburses insurers for lowering out-of-pocket costs for low-income consumers, was paid by the Obama administration. But it is now the subject of a lawsuit by congressional Republicans, who argue Congress must approve the payments.
In recent days, leading hospitals, physician groups, health insurers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have pleaded with the Senate to step in, effectively going around the White House.
“Congress must take action now,” the groups warned in a letter to Republican and Democratic Senate leaders. “At this point, only congressional action can help consumers.”
Can it be any clearer that health care coverage for many, if not most Americans, is in danger of collapse?
Harlan Green © 2017
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