Let’s just say that today was a most remarkable day in Washington.
At the White House’s famous Rose Garden, members of the Republican leadership in the United States House of Representatives gathered around President Donald Trump. It was clear that they were in a most jovial mood. Today was indeed a first big step toward what could be a signature legislative achievement of the Trump Presidency and Republican members of Congress.
Here’s the story from Thomas Kaplan and Robert Pear of the New York Times…
WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday narrowly approved a bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, as Republicans recovered from their earlier failures and moved a step closer to delivering their promise to reshape American health care without mandated insurance coverage.
The vote, 217-213, on President Trump’s 105th day in office, keeps alive the Republican dream to unwind the signature legislative achievement of former President Barack Obama. The House measure faces profound uncertainty in the Senate, where the legislation’s steep spending cuts will almost certainly be moderated. Any legislation that can get through the Senate will again have to clear the House and its conservative majority.
So the House passed the sent it on to the Senate. It seems worth a celebration… that is until you dig a little deeper.
This is the second push for the American Health Care Act. But by most indications, it seems an even worse bill than the first try. The new bill finds a back way to gut the requirement that pre-existing conditions must be covered by allowing states to opt out. Which means a state like Texas could just decide that its most vulnerable citizens don’t deserve healthcare, and kick them off of the rolls leaving them to die. And 217 Republicans actually voted for that.
They also voted to reinstate insurance high-risk pools. You may remember what obtaining health coverage was like before the ACA. If you’re completely healthy, rich and young, health insurance was no problem! But if you’re someone that is already sick, or poor or elderly, obtaining health insurance was next to impossible because it was so expensive. Again House Republicans didn’t see a problem with that system.
And perhaps the biggest shoe to drop… they voted to basically destroy the Medicaid Expansion starting in 2020. If this bill became law, literally millions of our poorest citizens which have Medicaid coverage today would be phased out of that coverage. Someone like Representative French Hill of Arkansas, who has over 80,000 people in his district which stand to lose Medicaid from the vote today, and he still voted for it.
But hey!! If you didn’t read the bill anyway before voting , why would you care? Yes, 217 Republicans voted for a bill they likely haven’t read, and have no idea how much it costs. Who cares how many people might lose their insurance? Who cares how many at risk children might die if they live in a state that “opts out” of covering folks with pre-existing conditions? I guess they didn’t catch Jimmy Kimmel’s impassioned speech about his infant son this week.
Who cares?? The American People care. These members of Congress now have some worries going into their next electoral cycle. To even vote for such a travesty of legislation is shameful. But this bill does not have to become law, nor do we have to send these 217 folks back to Congress.
Listed here are the 217 members which passed this bill. If one of them represents you, let them know how you feel about the American Health Care Act. Let them know that you would rather not be represented by a member of the Congressional Death Panel. We may have to deal with these folks today, but come 2018, we can send this Death Panel packing.
UPDATE 5/24/2017: As if we needed more proof that the House Republican Caucus is basically a Death Panel, the Congressional Budget Office released it’s Official Score of the American Health Care Act, Take 2, and their result?? 23 million people would be left uninsured, mostly due to Medicaid cuts. Here’s more from CNBC…
The current Republican bill to repeal and replace major parts of Obamacare will lead to 23 million more Americans not having health insurance coverage by 2026 if it becomes law, the Congressional Budget Office projected Wednesday.
That is only 1 million fewer uninsured people than had been projected for an earlier version of the GOP bill.
Most of the coverage losses still would occur next year, when 14 million more people would become uninsured than would otherwise be if Obamacare remained in place, CBO said in its new report.
The controversial bill would “tend to increase” average premium prices of individual health plans by about 20 percent relative to the current law in 2018, according to the analysis, but just 5 percent higher than Obamacare prices would be expected to be in 2019.
However, starting in 2020, premiums in different states would be affected in different ways by the bill, because of an amendment that would allow states to obtain waivers from current Obamacare rules mandating the design of health plans, and barring insurers from charging less-healthy people higher prices, CBO said.
As referenced in the earlier post, those waiver basically allow states to gut the fundamental protections that the Affordable Care Act set originally. Again, one has to ask why are they even doing this? Do they want to lose their jobs in 2018??