Principled, hard-line conservatives hate the new Republican healthcare bill, deriding it as “Obamacare Light”, and vowing to fight it. Pragmatic Republicans hate the bill because supporting it would end their political careers. Key provisions of the Affordable Care Act remain popular, Obamacare’s popularity has surged to an all-time high and Republicans are facing angry constituents in raucous town halls.
Donald Trump’s all in. Calling it an excellent plan and warning Republicans it will be a ‘bloodbath’ in the 2018 midterms if they fail to deliver on their promises.
Rand Paul: “Conservatives across the country aren’t going to accept it. It does a couple of things that we find unacceptable. It keeps the Obamacare subsidies, but just renames them as refundable tax credits.”
Mark Sanford, a Republican from South Carolina and House Freedom Caucus member, appealed to conservative principles: “Do we need to lower the bar in what we believe as conservatives simply because a Republican is in the White House?”
The Republican plan does maintain many key provisions of Obamacare. You could still stay on your parent’s insurance until 26. Insurers would still be required to cover people with pre-existing conditions and couldn’t set lifetime limits. There are still tax subsidies to help people afford insurance, but much less, and the subsidies are based on age, not income.
The plan is a huge tax break for the wealthy while older, poorer Americans will be hurt the most. AARP projects a 64-year old making $15,000 a year would see a staggering $8,400/year premium increase. Paul Ryan cites emergency rooms as “access.” The AARP, the American Medical Association and a coalition of hospitals have condemned the bill.
House Rep Jason Chaffetz, in a stunning display of condescension, said low-income Americans should pony up and pay for their health care instead of buying a new iPhone – which has been sometimes angrily, sometimes humorously, mercilessly mocked.
The House bill freezes Medicaid expansion in 2020 and phases it out over time. This has become a major sticking point for Republicans who acknowledge hundreds of thousands of their constituents could lose coverage and be left without options.
“We are concerned that any poorly implemented or poorly timed change in the current funding structure in Medicaid could result in a reduction in access to life-saving health care services”
Wrote Senators Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“We wanted to let the House know what our concerns are. We wanted to be responsible about this,” Portman said.
Indeed, the timing of the Senator’s announcement, signaling that the bill would be dead on arrival if it reached the Senate, came as the House Ways and Means Committee considered the health care plan, finally approving it after an 18-hour session.
It’s difficult to predict which would be worse for Republicans: if they had achieved a majority in Congress, held the White House and still failed to pass a bill they’d been promising for seven years, or the backlash of passing this no good, awful, terrible bill. Republicans are finding out that radicalizing your base with outrageous lies and fanning the flames of outrage is much easier than governing.
The White House pushed back on calling the bill “Trumpcare.” A man who puts his name on buildings, planes, steaks, wine and water, doesn’t want his name on this.