Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Here’s What Republicans Are Voting For Today

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I truly do not understand the Republican mind, though I find that generally their actions can be predicted if you assume that they hate the poor. Today they are trying to carry through on their promise to take away the healthcare insurance benefits that have helped millions. Their plan, aptly summarized by Kevin Drum in this post:

  • There have been no public hearings.
  • There’s no final text.
  • There’s no updated CBO score.
  • It is opposed by virtually every patient advocacy group and everyone in the health care industry.
  • Congress is still exempted from the new rules that allow states to waive essential benefits.
  • It raises premiums dramatically for older people.
  • It removes Obamacare’s protection against being turned down for a pre-existing condition.
  • It would steadily gut Medicaid spending for the very poorest.
  • It removes coverage from at least 24 million people, probably more.
  • It slashes taxes on the rich by about a trillion dollars over ten years.

That’s what the Republican party has come up with and that is what the party wants to pass.

Update: I received my morning newsletter on the NY Times Opinion section, and David Leonhardt writes in the email:

Earlier this week, the pollster Matt McDermott posed a question: Why are Democrats working so hard to prevent House Republicans from passing their health care bill?

“It’s an extreme bill that’s probably dead in Senate. And puts vulnerable GOPers on the record for vote that’ll cost them House next year,” McDermott predicted. Democrats were opposing it anyway, because they believed it was wrong — “a truly awful bill that will truly hurt everyday Americans,” he wrote.

He added: “In this health care debate, Democrats are doing something few in politics ever do: staking a moral position regardless of the politics.”

On Wednesday, House Republicans finally seemed to find a path to passing the bill. But it’s an amazingly cynical path. They flipped the votes by adding a fig leaf, of an extra $8 billion over five years to help cover sick people. The amount is not nearly enough to prevent the bill from doing terrible damage, as reporting by Reed Abelson and Margot Sanger-Katz shows.

The bill, at its core, is still what it has always been: It’s a large cut in health benefits for the sick, the old, the middle class and the poor, as an academic study published today — which I cover in a new column — shows. The savings from these cuts is then funneled into tax cuts for the rich.

That’s why the bill continues to be opposed by conservative, moderate and liberal health care experts, as well as groups representing doctors, nurses, hospitals, the elderly, the disabled and people with cancer, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Oh, and that’s a partial list.

No wonder Republicans are hastily rushing through the bill. “There have been no hearings, no studies, no Congressional Budget Office analysis; not even the text of a bill circulated the day before Thursday’s vote,” Jonathan Chait’s latest piece for New York magazine points out. No major bill has ever passed Congress in this fashion.

My colleague Ross Douthat put it this way: “Say what you will about European right-populists, but they wouldn’t be dumb enough to vote for this health care bill.”

In the end, the principled Republican resistance to the bill in the House appears to have been smaller than the desire to let President Trump and Paul Ryan claim a political victory. House Republicans seem to be betting that the progressive resistance to Trump has exhausted itself, as Ezra Klein noted.

If the bill really does pass, the next two battles become clear: Persuading at least three Republican senators that they shouldn’t take away 24 million people’s health insurance — and then, as McDermott’s question suggested — making sure some House Republicans who voted to take away that insurance pay with their jobs in 2018.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 May 2017 at 6:42 am

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