Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Republican Obamacare Repeal Bill: "Scribbled Tax Cuts On A Bar Napkin"

Yesterday, the House Republican leadership trotted out its Affordable Care Act "repeal and replace" plan that's been guarded in a Capitol basement on an eyes- only basis up until now, for good reason. It would give us health care the paleo- Republican way (spoiler alert!): more afflicting the afflicted and comforting the comfortable.

Margot Sanger-Katz tells us how it performs this typically Republican maneuver:
Republicans in the House have performed major surgery on the Obamacare replacement plan they circulated a few weeks ago. But compared with the Affordable Care Act, the new plan still shifts a lot of benefits from the poor to those who earn more. 
Legislative language for what House leaders call the American Health Care Act, released Monday evening, would substantially cut back funding to states that cover poor adults through their Medicaid program. It would cut back on financial assistance for relatively low-income insurance shoppers above the poverty line. 
It would offer new financial benefits for the upper-middle class and the rich. Americans higher up the income scale would be eligible for subsidies to help them buy health insurance. Taxes on high incomes would be reversed. And the law would allow people to save more money each year in tax-free health savings and flexible spending accounts — accounts that are most valuable to people who pay high income tax rates and have money to save. 
The bill even does away with a provision meant to tax incomes of insurance executives that top $500,000.  (our emphasis)
It's not even clear the bill will survive intact in the House Republican caucus, as members of the crackpot right "Freedom Caucus" are already saying it doesn't inflict enough pain on the poor to suit them, calling it "Obamacare 2.0" (ouch!).  A few Senate Republicans are also balking at the Medicaid provisions that would change the funding structure to a state- by- state allotment system and freeze enrollment in Medicaid expansion in 2020.  Here's a pretty fair summary of the House bill's retrograde aspects.

Having made "repeal Obamacare!" the rallying cry for angry dimwits everywhere, Republicans now have to follow through on their rhetoric. We have a few far- from- fearless predictions:

1. The media will largely treat this as a serious proposal, because Paul Ryan! In doing so,

2. They will ignore the fact that Republicans have prohibited the Congressional Budget Office from conducting a review of the bill, because it would show how much the bill will cost taxpayers. Nevertheless,

3. More and more Republicans (a.k.a., the dogs that caught the car) are going to be jumping ship as their "leaders" attempt the impossible: to cobble a plan that satisfies their sociopathic ideology while keeping the uninsured rate from skyrocketing (less than a day after the unveiling, they're already backing away in the White (Supremacist) House).

The wonderful former Democratic Rep. John Dingell sums it up better than most:

We'll have some more reactions on Twitter later.

BONUS:  All around villain Rep. Jason "Clouseau" Chaffetz (Weasel-UT) says people might need to choose between health care and a new iPhone.  Really.

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