House Republicans released a turd of a healthcare bill this week. This bill is worse in every conceivable way compared to Obamacare. It repeals the Medicare expansion, uses age-based subsidies rather than income-based subsidies, repeals the ACA’s taxes on the wealthy, does away with consumer protections about what a health care plan must cover. In place of the mandate forcing everyone to have coverage or face a fine, there is a 30% premium that the insurance companies can charge if your coverage lapsed.
Just for good measure, the plan defunds Planned Parenthood, and repeals a provision of the ACA limiting CEO pay. Perhaps most absurd, almost 10% of the language deals with new rules explaining why lottery winners cannot collect Medicaid. In short, the plan is worse for almost everyone! This analysis of the tax credits alone suggests that the real winners are high income, and the real losers are low income. This does not take into account the repeals of $346 billion in ACA taxes, all for taxpayers earning more than $200,000 a year ($250,000 for couples).
Take a look at this nice synopsis of the bill here.
It is great that no one likes the bill, probably because it sucks. Democratic opposition is of course solid. Libertarians object to the tax subsidies, which they see as another entitlement. Fiscal conservatives (which are hard to find these days!) hate it because it will obviously expand the deficit (but the GOP is not even waiting to find out by how much!) Doctors, hospitals, and insurers hate it. The AARP hates it. Senators in red states that expanded Medicare hate it. It’s hard to find anyone that likes it, because it sucks. The major selling point is that it is shorter than the ACA.
The sad irony here is that the Republicans have had 6 years to come up with a replacement! They have been begging to drive the bus for so long, they forgot how to do it. Then they immediately crashed into a house. Also, it turns out they were drunk. The bus in this metaphor is the government, for those of you following along at home. The house is something else … maybe American citizens? Or maybe it’s just a house.
They are going to force this turd through committee and bring it to a full vote, but there is little chance it will pass the house, let alone the senate in its current form.
Some choice quotes from this artcle:
“In general,” writes Peter Suderman, “it’s not clear what problems this particular bill would actually solve.” This is a profound point. It is difficult to say what question, or set of questions, would lead to this bill as an answer. Were voters clamoring for a bill that cut taxes on the rich, raised premiums on the old, and cut subsidies for the poor? Will Americans be happy when 15 million people lose their health insurance and many of those remaining face higher deductibles?
This bill has a lot of problems, and more will come clear as experts study its language, the Congressional Budget Office release its estimates, and industry players make themselves heard. But the biggest problem this bill has is that it’s not clear why it exists. What does it make better? What is it even trying to achieve? Democrats wanted to cover more people and reduce long-term costs, and they had an argument for how their bill did both. As far as I can tell, Republicans have neither. At best, you can say this bill makes every obvious health care metric a bit worse, but at least it cuts taxes on rich people? Is that really a winning argument in American politics?
What you can do:
- Support Planned Parenthood. They will no doubt be under fire as this bill is debated.
- If your representatives have come out against the bill, call or write to thank them! They need to hear from us not just when we disagree with their positions.