Opinion: “Trumpcare” in Ga.’s 14th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) (AP)

In a tweet sent Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia celebrated the release of a report by the Congressional Budget Office on the GOP’s plan to replace Obamacare, embracing it as “great news for Georgia families!”

As soon as I saw that, I thought immediately about the people whom Graves represents. His 14th Congressional District is nestled into Georgia’s northwest corner, along the borders of Alabama and Tennessee, and if you’ve read the CBO report, the repeal of Obamacare will be anything but good news to the people who live there:

1.) Grave’s district is relatively poor, dominated by small towns and rural areas, with a median household income in 2015 of $46,378, compared to $56,516 nationwide. That means that his constituents are comparatively more reliant on Medicaid and Obamacare for health insurance than those in wealthier regions of the country. Overall, according to the Census Bureau, government programs account for 38.3 percent of those with health insurance in the 14th.

2.) Between 2013 and 2015, when Obamacare kicked in, almost 43,000 of Grave’s constituents gained health insurance. More than 25,000 bought coverage last year through the Obamacare marketplace, and 23,800 used subsidies to afford it. Thanks almost exclusively to Obamacare, the district’s uninsured rate fell from 19.2 percent to 12.8 percent in just two years. Repealing Obamacare would reverse that progress just as quickly.

3.) For older people in Graves’ district, the transition from Obamacare to Trumpcare will be particularly harsh. Under Trumpcare, insurance companies will be allowed to charge older people significantly higher rates than they can now. In addition, government subsidies to help pay those higher rates will plummet. In fact, in each of the 12 counties represented by Graves, a 60-year-old person making $30,000 a year would see his or her subsidy cut by more than half, in effect forcing them to drop their coverage.

4.) As Graves notes, the CBO does project that by 2026, health insurance rates under the GOP plan would be 10 percent lower than under Obamacare. The question is why, and the answer is not “increased competition.” According to the CBO, policies offered under the GOP version will be more bare-bones, with higher deductibles and fewer claims and drugs covered, and thus with lower premiums. And as older people who are more expensive to insure are forced out of the market, the price for everyone else drops a bit. Unless we’re willing to let them die an early death, however, those older people are still going to need health care from somewhere, paid for by somebody.

5.) The GOP plan is built on an ideological faith that it will increase competition and thus drive down costs. Unfortunately, the health-care industry just doesn’t operate like that, particularly in rural areas like the 14th. With fewer insured and paying customers, health-care providers in those areas have a hard time making a go of it. That’s why, on average, rural areas have 68 primary care physicians for every 100,000 residents, compared to 84 per 100,000 in urban areas.

So what happens when you significantly reduce Medicaid and subsidies for private coverage, as the GOP promises to do? With even fewer paying customers, areas such as the 14th will become even less attractive to health-care providers, and even more expensive to serve, and thus even less attractive to development. It undermines everything that might give such regions hope for a better future.

Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to one more subtle but politically important detail in Graves’ tweet, in which he describes the GOP plan as the “@POTUS health plan.”

As Graves knows full well, the plan was written and conceived by his fellow House Republicans, with the White House as little more than an observer. In fact, Trump spokesmen have made it very clear that the president rejects the term Trumpcare, which is rather remarkable for a man who likes to plaster his name on everything.

But Graves also knows that Trump carried his district by 53 points last fall, and he and other congressional Republicans badly want the president’s cover in this debate. They’re fearful that a man who promised not to cut Medicaid and to cover everybody is going to turn his back on a plan that covers almost nobody.

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Reader Comments 0

1248 comments
Corey
Corey

Fair minded and decent, honest conservatives of good character, after Trump gives you your tax cuts and business friendly policies with a dash of Christian faith quietly recede into the closet as a Trump supporter. I'm sure there is something in you that will not allow you to continue publicly and boldly to defend the indefensible lying and all the other character flaws encompassed in Trump's personality. These are not the characteristics you expect from your children.

ByteMe
ByteMe

BTW... Tom Price is full of... SHEETS!!!!

ByteMe
ByteMe

 The White House’s budget director justified proposed cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by saying that it’s not fair to ask a “single mom in Detroit” or a “coal miner” to pay for it.


But it's ok if they pay for tax cuts for Richie Rich and more bombs to kill people we don't need to kill.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

also, everyone knows coal miners and single moms are too stupid to watch and understand PBS, right?

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Kamchak cry us a river.

That bleeding heart crap does not work.

I carry so many non-tax payers on my back now I can hardly walk.

Enough is enough.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Schumer says he has real concerns of Gorsuch, that he has favored the wealthy, special interests, etc.

Old Chuckie is no doubt a true Liberal.

He wants judges that agree with his ideology.

Not one that rules on the law. 

rimsky
rimsky

@JohnnyReb Proud of Chuckie.  Hope he stops Gorsuch dead on the tracks.  Pay back baby.

Garland rules.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@stefpe @JohnnyReb @OldJacketFan

JohnnyReb did not try to get into GT.

You guys have zero sense of humor or the dig I threw at OJF.

If you knew anything about Tech boys, its that they resent being told Tech is that North Ave trade school.

UGA folks know this very well.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Here's the answer for the healthcare debate.

Why don't you start a LibProg poor people's fund?

I mean you guys think you are the majority, more people voted for Hillary, etc.

So instead of pushing the spending of someone elses money, donate your own to give those poor people a subsidy to purchase insurance.

Put your money where your mouth is, apparently there is lots of room to stash it.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@JohnnyReb 

"spending someone else's money" 

Actually the government spends the government's money.  Why do you think that's wrong?

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Nick_Danger @JohnnyReb

The government only has money taken from taxpayers or borrowed, they may have some interest income, but the borrowed money has to be paid by taxpayers.

They don't have a golden egg laying goose.

So all the money they give to one has been taken from another.

Therefore when you push giving a subsidy to someone for insurance, someone else is paying that money into the government.

But you know all this, it just does not fit with your political ideology.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@JohnnyReb 

The Publix/Kroger/Ingles only has money taken from consumers or borrowed...

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Kamchak @JohnnyReb

no, Publix/Kroger/Ingles does not "take" money from consumers.

They exchange goods/services for the money.

They make a profit from the goods not costing as much as the money taken in.

Not so with the Feds.

They simply take.

They give my money to someone else.

You LibProgs idea of the Feds being uncle sugar with unlimited funds is obvious in the 10 trillion Obama added to debt with nothing to show for it.

Menace
Menace

@JohnnyReb  Here's another way.  How about we fully fund universal health care for all US citizens and those who support a huge military spending, a wall on the US-Mexican border, et al donate money to a special military fund.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@JohnnyReb  Can you imagine the people who could have been helped with the Billion that Hillary wasted on her campaign?

Kamchak
Kamchak

@JohnnyReb 

Once you pay your taxes/buy groceries, you cannot lay claim to the money any more because it is no longer your money, cupcake.

Just sayin'.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Except when it comes to tax dollars subsidizing abortions at Planned Parenthood, huh?

Resist Trump
Resist Trump

@JohnnyReb

Are you aware that when they take away your Obamacare you also lose your PPACA?

NativeAtlantan57
NativeAtlantan57

@JohnnyReb Immediately sign away your rights to your Social Security and Medicare benefits -- and then run your mouth.

honested
honested

Fake News That You Wish Was Real


The 'so-called president' announced today "In order to garner the moron vote, I made a lot of ridiculous promised. Confronted with the fact that most of those promises are either illegal, immoral or impossible, I will cease to attempt to move time backwards and step away from the promises that should never have been made".

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@honested  Fake News That You Wish Was Real.  "honested" learns to spell and type coherent comments.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Our judicial system is wrong on Trump's temporary immigration ban.

Congress gave the president the authority.

The president uses it based on security concerns.

A single judge puts a stay on it ignoring and overriding the presidents security concerns.

Forget it is Trump.  Forget if you agree with it or not.

If a president puts it into place for security concerns, it should stay until overturned in court.

Not stopped until court.

It's about security. 

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@JohnnyReb 

The Constitution gives me personally (and you!) "inalienable" rights. 

If those rights are violated for ANY reason, we have recourse to the courts. 

By giving up your rights so easily, you shame our founding fathers.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

By giving up your rights so easily, you shame our founding fathers.  Just curious....do you apply the same logic whenever the Electoral College is being discussed?

honested
honested

@JohnnyReb 

As usual, you have it backwards jr.

The 'so-called president' has yet to realize even he (in his massively distorted ego) is constrained by THE CONSTITUTION AND THE LAWS ENACTED TO ENFORCE IT!

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Nick_Danger @JohnnyReb

That might be true if we were discussing USA citizens, we are not.

We are discussing non-citizen entry into our country.

Non-citizens do not enjoy our Consitutional Liberties until their feet are on our soil.

Congress and this was not for Trump, gave POTUS the authority to control immigration, not a judge.

NativeAtlantan57
NativeAtlantan57

@JohnnyReb I say we just go with the opinions of a guy named Johnny Reb. What is there to lose? Setting foot in traffic court counts as judicial experience, yes?

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@JohnnyReb @Nick_Danger 

Johnny (and Scooter), fair point. 

The Declaration of Independence declares that "all men" are endowed with these rights. 

However, I suspect the judge made his ruling based upon the rights of US citizens (many of whose rights were violated by Trump's previous attempt).

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@DownInAlbany 

I'm not quite sure what you're asking.

The EC is the law of the land.  I wish the result had been different, but everyone was aware of the process going in. 

C_Casselberry
C_Casselberry

@JohnnyReb What are you afraid? Don't you have enough guns and god to protect your snowflake colored carcass? You are more at risk of dying from choking on the truth than from a foreign terrorist.

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

It is evident our alt right folks absolutely revel in others misery. As long as it does affect them they couldn't care less if others are impacted. Their dear leader has spoken, therefore everything is perfect for them. 


Once again I smile and raise my extended my middle finger to them and their ilk. 


To the rational, forward thinking folks on here have a great day and enjoy knowing you make a difference for good rather than reveling in the misery of others! 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@OldJacketFan

Why don't you start a LibProg poor people's fund?

I mean you guys think you are the majority, more people voted for Hillary, etc.

So instead of pushing the spending of someone eleses money, donate your own to give those poor people a subsidy to purchase insurance.

Put your money where your mouth is, apparently there is lots of room to stash.