Opinion: Winners in ‘health reform’ probably don’t include you

(AP)

House Republicans are having a tough time passing a health-care “reform” bill that guts Medicaid by cutting $880 billion, that pushes an estimated 24 million Americans off their health insurance plan with no replacement, that hits poor, elderly and rural Americans hardest and that hands most of an $880 billion tax cut into the hands of wealthiest Americans. It’s no surprise that passing such a bill is difficult.

No, it’s the reason they can’t pass the bill that gets to me. They are having trouble corralling enough Republican votes for a Republican bill to keep a Republican promise to the Republican base because in the eyes of many Republicans, the bill simply is not mean enough. It doesn’t cut enough, it doesn’t punish enough, it doesn’t do more to make the vulnerable and fragile in our society even more vulnerable and fragile.

That’s the part that gets to me.

The GOP effort is being led by President Trump, the man who campaigned as the anti-elitist champion of Americans who feel left behind, who told voters that unlike Paul Ryan and other Republicans, he understood the necessity of preserving the safety net and would never allow cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump used to say.  “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

Once in office, though, Trump has distanced himself from that position faster than you can say “Who’s Paul Manafort?” To his voters, such talk may have been reassuring, a sign that their hero really truly cared about them, but it’s now clear that to Trump himself, such promises were merely a means to an end, a way to fool the rubes long enough to get the ultimate personal validation that he craved and that the presidency represents to him.  Indeed, with House conservatives demanding that the original “repeal-and-replace” bill be made even tougher and meaner to get their vote, Trump this week has happily, readily agreed, apparently heedless of its impact on real people.

And why?

In his speech Monday night at a rally in Kentucky, he told us why. He told us why repeatedly.  Over and over again, he told the crowd, he wanted to get the health-insurance bill “passed in some form so that we can pass massive tax reform, which we can’t do until this happens. We’ve got to get this done before we can do the other. In other words, we have to know what this is before we can do the big tax cuts.”

“Thursday is our chance to end Obamacare and the Obamacare catastrophe and begin delivering the reforms our people deserve,” he said. “Big thing.  Then we get to tax cuts.  Big thing.”

His supporters cheered at that too, at his promise “to massively reduce your taxes.”  What Trump didn’t tell them is that he personally, on his own, would almost certainly reap more financial benefit from those tax cuts than everybody else in that audience put together — that is, unless there happened to be a few other billionaires in attendance. Just one of the changes sought by Trump and his fellow Republicans — elimination of the alternative minimum tax — would have cut his 2005 tax bill from $38 million to $7 million, a one-year savings of $31 million. Elimination of the estate tax, another treasured GOP goal, would save Trump’s children as much as $4 billion.

It’s a shell game, a game in which the con man’s well-honed patter distracts you from what he’s doing to you right in front of your eyes. And it’s dismaying how many people still refuse to see it.

 

 

Reader Comments 1

1120 comments
Ash Warnock
Ash Warnock

Tom, i think that may be one of the stupidest things I've ever read. Pass something without evaluation? Just what?

Rob Fine
Rob Fine

Trump just pulled the bill. So much for that. Lol

Aegis Groove
Aegis Groove

So you are saying is it is irresponsible for anyone to try to even evaluate this legislation, and yet you support Donald Trump and his drive to enact this legislation? Asinine. That is completely asinine.

Tom Haney
Tom Haney

Phase one is available for passage, you must have read that wrong. I forget that most facebook users low information people who have a hard time with comprehension skills.

Barbara L. LeMaster
Barbara L. LeMaster

"This President is in a unique position, having not being bought off by Big Pharma, to make great deals for Americans regarding pharmaceutical prices. He also owes nothing to Big Insurance companies and can make great demands to them that would greatly benefit Americans." 1. You're assuming he hasn't been bought off. 2. He doesn't control pharma prices, pharma companies and insurance companies do. He literally has no control over this. 3. Unless they keep the provision for pre-existing conditions, he has no control over which policies insurers keep or drop. 4. Why can't we have single payer?

Issac Reid
Issac Reid

Jay you're good but they deserve what they get

Jeri Henson Dies
Jeri Henson Dies

How many Republicans are going to commit political suicide tomorrow?

Rob Fine
Rob Fine

Trump pulled the bill. That ain't fake.

Lee Walker
Lee Walker

yay kill poor & old people it is the american way

gemmy19
gemmy19

It's not thst his band of idiots dont see what he is doing.....its because they're too stupid.

Patty McGhee Johnson
Patty McGhee Johnson

Health for profit works for no one! What a disgusting way to treat disease.

Patty McGhee Johnson
Patty McGhee Johnson

We are Light Years behind All other industrialized countries .... good grief, it's asinine.

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

I am one of the 12 million people that lost their insurance because it was an affordable and unusable

Donna Jo Glidden
Donna Jo Glidden

We live in GA, Bill...the state declined to participate in the marketplace, hence the stupid rates. My plan in Mass? $50/mo -marketplace. GA, same year/plan, $500-no marketplace.

Barbara L. LeMaster
Barbara L. LeMaster

Yes, Governor Deal refused to expand Medicaid in Georgia, which didn't help many who needed those ACA plans.

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

Massachusetts has the highest tax rate The country to live other than liberal California those two states models will be in The Baskin of socialism

Barbara L. LeMaster
Barbara L. LeMaster

Bill Mullen - And, oddly enough, Massachusetts former governor, Mitt Romney, came up with a plan for government-sponsored healthcare that worked. Obama borrowed his ideas for the ACA.

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

That's why mitt Romney lost,The Republicans pulled the bill they are just going to let Obamacare crash because it was designed to fail in the first place it is a colossal screwup I would let it crash and then erase everything and start over from the place it was before Obama destroyed the healthcare system

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

Obamacare was designed to fail so we could go to a straight socialistic government run catastrophe

Michael Dillinger
Michael Dillinger

The U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that doesn't have government management of healthcare. Last time I checked, other countries were managing just fine, but go ahead and keep drinking the kool-aid..... Maybe one day you will wake up and realize that the people who stand to profit from a for-profit healthcare system are the same people that are telling you to trust them when they say government run heatlhcare is bad.

Michael Dillinger
Michael Dillinger

Bill, have you ever entertained the possibility that your argument is the argument of the insurance companies and others who are profiting immensely off of the current system?

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

Yes they are your Shorince company is also were-getting a huge subsidy from Obama but stopped when he left office

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

In less you are a incompetent boob you shouldn't need the government to hold your hand for everything you need the government cannot even run the post office much less One third of the US economy if you like socialist and communism you need to move

Barbara L. LeMaster
Barbara L. LeMaster

Bill Mullen - Single payer healthcare isn't Communist. It's something that pretty much every single country in the western world has, and it pretty much works. It's not a matter of government "hand-holding" as much as it is government providing a basic, essential human right (healthcare).

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

That is totally single payer is totally socialized healthcare which is no choices government tells you what to do and has death panels with rationing

Wendi Bennett Stone
Wendi Bennett Stone

Insurance companies do this now. You trust big business over the government.

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

wendi America is a capitalistic society money flows to the path of least resistance which means whoever has the best price on something is who gets the business it's called competitive business you want government controlled prices which never have worked if you know anything about history back in the great depression they put price controls of ground beef that's where ground Chuck came from they put a price cap on ground beef so they just change the name because there was a shortage of beef and it cost more it does not work government price control you need to move to a socialistic or communist country you do not belong in America or understand economics you must be a product of the public school system

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

I am using voice recognition so all the sentences might not be right but I don't have time to worry about it because I can't help you anyway because you cannot fix stupid

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

It destroyed me last time can't get any worse maybe this time I can actually afford some insurance that I can use

Michael Dillinger
Michael Dillinger

Part of the reason why government cannot run efficiently is because we have too many crooked politicians willing to steal from the American taxpayers because they have no morals and not enough mechanisms are in place to stop them or hold them accountable.

Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson

Who are you kidding! If you thought you were screwed before (and you really should be pissed at Gov. Deal for screwing you); then better stock up on the high grade lube, pal!!

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

The government cannot run anything efficiently if you are depending on the government to take care you I can't do anything for you you must be getting it for free or something but I have a job and it cost $650 per month with a $5000 deductible and I am uncovered,and I am one of 12 million people who lost their insurance from being on affordable and all you hear is the scumbags that might lose their insurance

Darrin Kent
Darrin Kent

So the solution is another 20 million lose their health insurance?

Sheron Hilliker Edge
Sheron Hilliker Edge

I'm so sick of liberal liars pretending that everybody has insurance now. Millions and millions of WORKING American CITIZENS don't have insurance because they can't afford it now!!! And have to just allow the government to take out their FINE, which is unacceptable, out of their tax return check!

Shanna Jackson
Shanna Jackson

Sheron Hilliker Edge Liberals never said EVERYBODY HAS INSURANCE. You are to busy yelling liberal and conservative... many WORKING Americans like myself use the ACA. Many small business jobs don't offer insurance and my plan is a Hell of a lot cheaper than what it was before without ACA... I COULD NOT AFFORD IT BEFORE! ME...a real person who is telling you something you seem to be in denial about. The ACA isn't perfect but it's working for millions of us. Yes it needs work...but that is like anything...fix it.

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

Shanna Jackson your plan is a hell of a lot cheaper because they try to make people like me pay for it but we all dropped out and I uncovered that is why Obama care has collapsed

Mary Ann Hall
Mary Ann Hall

$650/month with a $5000 deductible is obscene, but that's exactly the kind of plan the AHCA will create; your premiums may go down to $200/month, and you'll get a $2000 tax credit, but will it matter if you have a $15,000 deductible for a plan that doesn't cover the hospital bill if you're ever in a car accident, doesn't pay for your child's pediatrician, and has no coverage for prescription drugs? Bill, what was happening to your premiums before the ACA? During the times I had insurance, mine jumped as much as 10% a year, and every year they covered less and less. You say that the government is inefficient, but without regulations there's no reason for insurance companies to try to be efficient. As for-profit businesses their only goal is to make more money. Health care can't logically be run as a for-profit industry though. People don't have other options, and you can't get the information you need for a free market to work effectively. If I'm buying a car, I can look at dealer prices, AutoTrader, Carfax, and have all the info I need. And if I don't find what I need, I can just not buy a car. None of that is possible with health care-- I don't know the true value of what I'm buying, so there's no true market, and if I walk away I get sick or die. Now, if there were no insurers and it was just people and providers, it might be simpler to determine true costs, but then you have the issue that almost nobody is rich enough to pay for, say, cancer treatment out of pocket. The ACA was originally designed with an option for people who didn't like insurance prices to be able to buy into Medicaid. It would have been a cheaper option that would also spread the risk and make Medicaid a more stable and less costly program (2/3 of Medicaid pays for seniors in long term care and severely disabled people's health care-- only 1/3 goes to people who are poor). But that part got stripped out by Republicans AND Democrats who were bought off by insurers. The insurers knew lots of people would choose the government system instead of subsidizing $10 million+ insurance CEO salaries. Since there was no competition, insurers could charge folks like you $$$$. And in states like ours where the governor turned down Medicaid expansion, there was guaranteed to be no competition. That WAS THE PLAN!! And the people who devised that are the ones who made *this* plan. Your profile pic has a super cute kid in it. I have a couple myself. The plans that Trump is telling you will be so cheap won't include things like pediatric care for that little guy, or maternity care for his mama, or her hospital stay to have him. It also won't cover the ER when he needs stitches at the ER after sliding into home plate too hard. Why should it? Those things aren't profitable for insurers, and they have no reason to care. So it's your new plan may be cheap, but functionally useless. Is that really freedom of choice? Or freedom to be ripped off so insurers can keep making gigantic profits? I wouldn't lie about this to another parent. The president is pushing a plan that will hurt our kids.

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

Same as Obama care it all needs to go away back to where it was before Obama screwed it!

ccrider27
ccrider27

Republicans don't like the replacement because it's not cruel enough. Don't they realize they're the ones who will lose health care? Is it really that difficult for them to understand?


Or is it that they want to hurt 'others' as badly as they've been hurt?


As we do to the least of these, we do to Him.

Shanna Jackson
Shanna Jackson

EXACTLY!!!!! They are too busy trying to destroy anything President Obama did...while screwing us all together. Just fix the issues with ACA!!! Geesh