House GOP Passes Trumpcare, the Largest Redistribution From Poor to Rich in U.S. History
After more than seven years of Congressional saber rattling and Republicans promising to 'Repeal and Replace' Obamacare, on Thursday afternoon, the Republican dream was made a reality! The Trumpcare bill earned 217 of the necessary 216 votes needed to pass.
Once it became clear House Republicans secured enough votes to pass Trumpcare, Democratic members of Congress broke out in spontaneous song. In this instance, the singing by Democratic lawmakers was ill advised and poorly timed.
House GOP stood in jubilation while the Democrats were whistling a foolish tune. On one half of the political spectrum were Republicans showing a callous disregard for the potential loss of health coverage for millions of Americans. Their clapping and celebrating in unadulterated joy of their decision to prioritize tax cuts for the wealthy over the healthcare of the poor was shameful. However, on the other end of the spectrum were Democrats taunting Republicans by singing, "Na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye." This was beneath the chamber. Citizens did not vote and send representatives to the nation's capital to mistake the 'People's Chamber' with the culmination of a sporting event.
With this chant, the Democrats were celebrating the potential for pending doom in the Republican Party. In the Democratic perspective, any member of Congress who voted to gut the Affordable Care Act ("ACA") will be easily defeated next fall. While all of that is likely true, the aesthetics are going to win in this instance. In addition to being childish, Democratic singing "hey hey hey good bye" was tone deaf and failed to consider the optics of singing that song as health care is whisked away and millions of Americans prepare to literally say goodbye to their healthcare.
Today was an embarrassing day in U.S. History. Both major political parties disgraced themselves. Republicans stripped poor people, sick people, and elderly people of health coverage, all for the sake of providing tax cuts to the wealthiest among us. Democrats in turn, failed to recognize the weight of the matter and sang inappropriately to highlight GOP hypocrisy.
In addition to the Republican plan significantly reducing coverage, it raises premiums in most cases. The alleged reason for a need to upgrade from the ACA was to reduce the cost of health insurance. Yet this Republican bill, by every metric, raises the cost of coverage. Only one small group of U.S. citizens stand to benefit from the repeal of the ACA - rich people. Those earning more than $250 thousand per year will receive a $300 billion tax cut. As a result, in this singular bill, Americans will suffer the largest redistribution from the poor to the rich in U.S. history.
When it comes to lack of bipartisanship and refusing to await the report (also known as the score) issued by the non partisan Congressional Budget Office, in 2009, Speaker Ryan noted:
"Before members even had time to read the 1,000-page bill. It already has cleared two major House committees and is set to be fast-tracked through Congress in the days and weeks ahead. Those members of Congress who voted for this bill in their committees, did so without knowing what the legislation cost. Before it's too late, let's take a closer look."
Why is Paul Ryan now deviating from this earlier position? What a difference eight years makes. In an interview on MSNBC in the same year Ryan stated,
"I don't think we should pass bills that we haven't read, that we don;t know what they cost... We want to see healthcare done, but we want to do it right. And if you rush this thing through before anybody even knows what it is, that's not good democracy."
Did Paul Ryan evolve in his ideology that dramatically since 2009? Doubtful. But this revised Republican healthcare bill substantially reduces coverage and may altogether eliminate coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions.
The healthcare reform bill passed by Republicans in the House, not only cuts the expansion of Medicaid, it cuts the Medicaid health program by 25 percent. A cut of this size will certainly result in the loss of health coverage for the poor, elderly, and disabled.
Less than five days ago this bill was expected to fail. But the inclusion of a provision which adds $8 billion to be allocated to 'high-risk pools' won over the remaining GOP holdouts. But citizens in states with conservative governors may not benefit from such funds because the new law grants states the authority to opt out since the ACA mandate to cover these patients no longer exists. When the CBO scores this bill in the coming weeks, that will likely draw wide ranging bipartisan criticism. It remains to be seen whether that will suffice to sway a majority of Senate Republicans to vote against it. The only true evolution that has taken place is Republican evolution on what allows a lawmaker to legitimately declare political or moral high ground on healthcare.