Opinion: This is where the mask slips, for all to see

In an interview Monday night on Fox News, House Speaker Paul Ryan repeated his claim that having read the entire CBO report on his party’s proposed Obamacare replacement plan, “I’m pretty encouraged by it and it actually exceeded my expectations.”

If you’re encouraged by that report, anchor Bret Baier asked in disbelief, what kind of CBO report would it take to discourage you?

Ryan responded in deeply revealing terms.

“What CBO did is validate (our approach),” he said, a big grin splitting his face. “We are block-granting Medicaid back to the states, saving $880 billion right there. This is an $880 billion tax cut for families and small businesses that help lower their health-care costs, and it reduces the deficit.”

It’s just remarkable.

Note that Ryan links the $880 billion in proposed Medicaid cuts directly to the $880 billion in proposed tax cuts, as he should. He’s excited about that fact. He likes it. He’s not the least bit bothered by the CBO projection that those cuts will strip health insurance from 17 million of his fellow Americans who have no other source of coverage — senior citizens in nursing homes, children living in poverty. This is his Ayn Rand fantasy made true.

Nor does he mention that almost all of that $880 billion tax cut would benefit already wealthy Americans. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, middle-income Americans would see a tax cut under the GOP bill that averages $300. The top 1 percent — those already making $772,000 or more — would see their after-tax income jump by $37,240. The top 0.1 percent — those with incomes of $3.95 million and above — would reap an additional $207,390 on average.

Put another way, this is where the mask slips, revealing the ugliness that has always been there.

It’s also fascinating to see how differently those in the Trump administration are approaching the CBO numbers. While Ryan claims to be enthused and excited by them, for example, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price insists they’re “just not believable” and “virtually impossible.” (It’s worth noting that in his former role as House Budget Committee chair, Price helped to handpick conservative economist Keith Hall, the CBO director who led the drafting of this report.)

The problem with Price’s claim is that private-industry assessments of the proposed bill have produced numbers much like those of the CBO.  A secret White House assessment leaked to Politico predicts 26 million more uninsured as a result of the bill, even more than the 24 million in the CBO report. Even if you set aside such reports, simple, basic math tells you that you cannot make changes on the scale being proposed without also producing significant, painful reductions in coverage.

In addition to Medicaid cuts, take a look at the chart at the top of this post. It’s produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation, an independent non-profit specializing in health-care policy. The chart offers a straightforward comparison of the subsidies that would be available to a 60-year-old couple under both the Affordable Care Act and the proposed Trumpcare plan.

A couple just scraping by on an income of $25,000 would see their out-of-pocket cost for health insurance jump by as much as $19,000 in a high-cost market such as Mobile, Ala. Even in a low-cost area such as Reno, they would have to pay an additional $10,920 for coverage. They would clearly drop their coverage, and it won’t be because they are no longer legally mandated to carry it. They would drop it because financially, they would have no other choice. So add them and many like them to the 17 million cut loose by Medicaid.

As the chart illustrates, even a middle-income couple — the median household income in this country is a little over $50,000 — would see significant out-of-pocket increases in the cost of health insurance, so significant that most would simply be unable to afford it. They too would be forced to drop coverage; they too can be added to the 17 million.

All in all, the Republican “replacement plan” would do absolutely nothing to help either low- or middle income people of that age buy insurance, and they’re the people who need it most. And it’s hard to escape the conclusion that this is probably failure by intent.

Two years ago, the CBO was asked to predict the impact of a straight repeal of Obamacare, with no plan implemented to replace it. In that 2015 assessment, it projected that 24 million Americans would lose coverage, which just happens to be the same number left uncovered by this Republican plan.

Put another way, this “replacement plan” has exactly the same total coverage effect as no replacement plan whatsoever. It is a work of mortuary cosmetology, designed to give the dead the appearance of life and health.

Well, it’s time to bury it.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

1800 comments
Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@Denise285 

Wait. How can this be? We have a new regime that's effectively a satellite of Moscow (Paul Krugman). 

How can this DOJ be going after Russian spies?

Mary
Mary

Ok classmates, your favorite target is about to speak in Michigan. You may want to pause the posting and watch so u can reload your narrative. While u r at it, watch it on Fox. That will really get you guys rolling this afternoon! Lol

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@rimsky @Donnie_Pinko

All I need to know is that leftists are unhappy 'cause wage growth isn't high enough.

The FR is boosting it based on confidence data.

Whether that confidence is misplaced is another subject altogether.

I, personally, think it is. 

KUTGF
KUTGF

DIA:  That is, IF you believe the number produced by every other country on Earth.  Me?  I don't.
__________

I know.  Our govt hides military spending in all those entitlements.  I mean we can just pick and chose what we want to believe.  We don't need evidence or rationality.  Its all a conspiracy. 

King_of_Kolob
King_of_Kolob

@KUTGF DiA.....All you have to do is look how many war planes and aircraft carriers they have. If you still don't believe they spend way less then only God can help you.....and he won't becuase you would not believe either.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

ISTANBUL — Hackers apparently sympathetic to the Turkish government posted Twitter messages Wednesday on hundreds of public accounts deriding Germany and the Netherlands as Nazis, opening a new front in an escalating war of words between Turkey and its European allies.

It was not clear who was responsible for the tweets, which were posted on the accounts of Amnesty International, UNICEF and the BBC, among others.

Gotta be Putin.

schnirt 

Vindicator
Vindicator

@FIGMO2 Nazi has become a very popular narrative with people who don't get their way and can't convince others of their dumb ideas.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Resist Trump @FIGMO2

And where, exactly, have I portrayed these anti-immigrant sentiments?

I'm for extensive vetting but that's more difficult and time consuming when dealing with failed states. 


FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Resist Trump @FIGMO2

I know exactly where I stand on immigration, PeeWee. Haven't budged an inch since being here.

I'll await the evidence supporting what you claim. If you can't provide it, and I know you can't, I'll be forced to tag you as a purveyor of fake truths.

Liar is such an ugly word. I refuse to use it.

I'll be here for 'ya, PeeWee. Don't make me wait too long.

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

Republicans love to blame all our troubles on the weak ones -- just like Jesus did!

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

In the next financial crash - which will be orders of magnitude bigger than 2008 - there are going to be not bail OUTs, but bail INs.

Which means, YOU and ME.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Vindicator 1 minute ago

@StraightNoChaser @Vindicator @DownInAlbany No, no. You are truly confused. That's what I call you people. 


You people?  Who was the last one to say that and her husband got whooped by the American people and Barack Hussein Obama?  Why it was Willard Mittens Romney of course.  When will YOU PEOPLE learn?  

rimsky
rimsky

IRS collects $2.9 Trillion each year.  That is not enough.  The rich owes the country more.

Mary
Mary

And our debt is 20T. What's wrong with that pic?

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@Mary 

20T debt? 

Yeah, bailing out capitalism can be real expensive.

And its biggest bailout of all is yet to come.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@rimsky

I don't think you'd know what to do with it, rimsky.

You're not the brightest bulb in your bunch.

Mary
Mary

We spend less per gdp than russia and china. Why they call u pee wee? Just wonderin?

Resist Trump
Resist Trump

@Mary

Having a military budget that dwarfs that of every other country on Earth is pretty pricey as well.

Mary
Mary

Funding entitlements pretty pricey too!

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Mary

He's always putting up movie trailers so I figured PeeWee spends a lot of time in the theater. 

Mary
Mary

Whew. Glad to hear that. My imignation was starting to take over. He seems to stalk u to. BTW, why does he call u felica?

stefpe
stefpe

@DownInAlbany @Resist Trump @Mary "IF you believe the number produced by every other country on Earth"

That's kind of a fair point but.. I can't see how you could possibly disguise the true number by more than a few percentage points.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Mary

The movie "Friday" and the insignificant Felicia character.

If I'm so insignificant, I can't understand why PeeWee follows me everywhere.

The guy never gives up.

Resist Trump
Resist Trump

@Mary

Thanks for asking the question, Mary. I always wondered myself. As for "felicia," that is her name IRL.

I do like movies, by the way. I have excellent retention and superb taste (if I may say so myself).

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Mary Yep..... do tell us all what is the GOP plan and Trump plan to reduce it?  When is that check from Mexico coming?

rimsky
rimsky

@Mary Entitlements are paid by us.  Need more taxes.  Rich don't pay enough

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Resist Trump @Mary

"Friday" warrants superb taste?

Sophomoric, at best.

I've always figured you for an empty theater sorta guy, PeeWee.

One of those back alley joints. 

Mary
Mary

I like movies as well. Let me see if u recognize a couple of lines from one of my favorite movies: "you are no daisy". "I'm your huckleberry ". Recognize?

Mary
Mary

How much would be enough to you?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@rimsky @FIGMO2

You have special needs, rimsky.

I've spent most of my adult life teaching special needs children.

I'm hoping to bring you to your full potential.

Based on your dripping problem, you might need some trip training.

I excel at behavior modification.

Mary
Mary

Awesome! You got!

rimsky
rimsky

@FIGMO2 @rimsky While driving through this residential neighborhood noticed the sign "slow children playing"  I looked if you were there.  LOL

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@rimsky @FIGMO2

Only you could read a road sign wrong.

Slow

Children Playing

Slow is not an adjective. It's a directive.

You really do need my help, rimsky.

I'll do what I can, but you've gotta work with me.