Opinion: GOP House chooses wealth care over health care

(AP)

UPDATE at 2:18 p.m.:

With 217 votes, one more than required, the U.S House has approved a bill repealing and replacing Obamacare.

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Let’s recap the health-care situation through my “Prism of the Three P’s”: Process, Policy and Politics:

PROCESS

• The terrified House GOP — trapped between the horror of doing nothing and doing something awful — is about to vote on a major bill revamping the entire health-care system, a bill that was still being written and rewritten as of yesterday.

• The bill is being rushed through passage without even the minimum of analysis, which begins with a Congressional Budget Office scoring of its impact. Very few in Congress will have had the time to read it.

• Not a single committee hearing has been held on the bill; no public testimony has been allowed; no floor amendments will be permitted.

• House Speaker Paul Ryan, has scheduled all of 40 minutes of floor debate on the bill.

Those who remember the years of GOP complaints about the process by which Obamacare passed will recognize the scale of the hypocrisy being perpetrated. By comparison with the current process, the Obamacare process was a model of legislative diligence and deliberation.

POLICY

• The previous version of this bill would strip 24 million Americans of health insurance, according to the CBO.  Conservatives deemed that version too generous, so the current version was rewritten to make it even worse.

• By pushing more than 24 million Americans off of their insurance, the bill saves an estimated $880 billion. That money is then used to finance tax cuts that are very heavily tilted toward the rich. Put succinctly, it is wealth care, not health care.

• It is strongly opposed by the American Medical Association, the AARP, the American Hospital Association and just about every other health-care provider group in the country, all of whom argue that it will significantly reduce the ability of Americans to access their doctors and get health care. The impact on Americans aged 50-64 will be especially onerous.

• The hard-won guarantee that Americans with pre-existing conditions can’t be charged exorbitant rates is gone. That change was a major demand of House conservatives, and they won that fight. The mechanism created as a substitute — state-run high-risk insurance pools — had been implemented in 35 states prior to passage of Obamacare, including Georgia, and it proved a dismal failure in all 35.  In fact, the gross inadequacy of high-risk pools helped drive passage of Obamacare in the first place.

• As the Wall Street Journal and other outlets report, a last-minute change to the bill even weakens employer-provided health insurance, including coverage of maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health treatment and hospitalization. That change — also demanded by conservatives — allows insurers and major employers to pick a state they want to be regulated by. They don’t even need to have operations in that state. If Alabama or Mississippi adopts lax regulations, employers in Georgia or Minnesota could choose to be covered by those rules, saving themselves billions. (I suspect that similar little “Easter eggs” still remain hidden in the legislation.)

POLITICS:

• The previous, more generous version of the bill polled at a 17 percent approval rating. That was before the legislation undermined the highly popular guarantee regarding pre-existing conditions.  Democrats say they are elated with today’s vote, because it puts Republicans on record in support.

•  Support for Obamacare, on the other hand, is at an all-time high now that voters have seen what the Republicans propose as an alternative. In a Gallup poll taken last month, 55 percent approved and 41 percent disapproved. Just 30 percent said they still wanted to repeal and replace Obamacare.

•  Many of those hardest hit by the loss of insurance will be older, working-class Americans in states carried by Donald Trump, the very people whom he promised to protect. Those who would benefit the most are the wealthy and powerful, the very elites whom Trump railed against on the public’s behalf. At some point, such betrayals are going to be noticed.

•  “Trump and Republicans will own every preventable death, every untreated illness, and every bankruptcy that American families will be forced to bear if this bill becomes law and millions lose access to affordable health care,” as DNC chair Tom Perez puts it. “The 24 million who would lose access to health care is not just a number—it represents fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and even newborn babies with heart diseases or cancers that are too costly to treat without affordable insurance.”

That last point is critical. Regardless of what happens in the Senate, Republicans now fully own responsibility for the nation’s health-care system. They have already created chaos in the health insurance industry by refusing to honor the federal government’s commitment to help offset losses, and with this vote they have created immense uncertainty about what the health-care marketplace will look like next year.

They broke it, they own it, and they have no idea whatsoever about how to put it back together with any semblance of functionality. A lot of people are going to be hurt as a consequence.

 

Reader Comments 0

785 comments
fktrump
fktrump

$600 Billion tax relief to the rich by the House tea baggers  should do a lot for the morons who voted for Trump . Remember that when you get your next bill from a hospital that charges you inflated charges due to free health care for the uninsured. 

Guy Higginbotham
Guy Higginbotham

DEMOCRATES ARE SO STUPID OBAMACARE WAS WEALTH CARE NOT HEALTH CARE

Jeri Henson Dies
Jeri Henson Dies

"I've got mine and to hell with you" IS the basic Republican philosophy.

Bob Casteel
Bob Casteel

OC was written to fail. When a family has to pay for birth as well as abortion expenses for their 6 yr old daughter to be spread over older folks premiums, we are watching ins companies jumping out of states and doctors retiring as they are not allowed to serve their patients as they wish. OC will drop from the earth in one year. Medicaid can not support national health. The democrat media is still pushing it.

Bob Malbek
Bob Malbek

You voted for it now you own it. Suckers.

Phyllis Beggs
Phyllis Beggs

I'm not smart at all about this....Why can't we go back the way it was before Obama care.?

JBand Margaret Hamm
JBand Margaret Hamm

They should have let Obana Care go extincy before voting on a new plan. Then the sorry libs wouldnt have anything to ridicule.

Debra B Jones
Debra B Jones

Cancer has no name! There's something else that he no name either...

Virgil Dammen
Virgil Dammen

Sorry to burst your bubble libbys but obamacare was designed for those that don't want to work.

JackClemens
JackClemens

A response completely devoid of fact or reason, snowflake.

Lindon Hooper
Lindon Hooper

You know what they said about opinions. After a few changes that the Democrats will not like, the bill will pass the Senate. Guarantee it. Yes I need more money, give it to me Mr. President but keep it away from all Democrats because they don't need any more. They say they have enough.

Patricia Humphries Tyson
Patricia Humphries Tyson

How sad AMERICAN population voted for you. But no further elections in your future. Read, study and then vote

Buck Smith
Buck Smith

The main thing is to remove Obama's legacy from the face of the Earth

Matthew De La Guerra
Matthew De La Guerra

Na. Your just butt hurt over collapsing obamacare. Its horrible. The democrat architect saying on the news " the healthcare law passed based on the stupidity of the American people "

Carolyn Molyneux
Carolyn Molyneux

This could only be passed by people who are protected from their own meanness and fecklessness. They already have government paid health care so they're good. Too bad about the rest of us.

Leonard Felton
Leonard Felton

Congress and staffers have Obamacare and they will remain in the Republican bill that passed.

Jon Tsang
Jon Tsang

So you want the government to take care of your healthcare

Orlando Largo
Orlando Largo

Just the title alone shows that this paper is biased - America does not want opinions of newspapers (their agendas) instead of pure investigative reporting. All the education the educated nuts \U0001f95c have and these "journalists " don't know there job or the difference of editorial vs. reporting. Fake news - get me Trump \U0001f602\U0001f923

Barbara Austen Cheng
Barbara Austen Cheng

Yesterday - House Republicans basically voted to destroy my family and kill my husband who has a preexisting condition - nothing less. My family is my life. It's personal. Right now - no one who I know who voted Republican is welcome in my home. The people they voted for just voted. to. Kill. My. Husband. Every day we rely on amazing medical personnel, excellent insurance, technology and science to keep my husband alive. And yesterday - Republicans voted to take that away and devastate us - everything we have worked for. People have a right in a democracy to vote how they want. I respect that. However - this is my family. This is my life. So. Again. You. Vote. Republican. You. Are. Not. Welcome. In. My. Home. And yes. It's personal.

Leonard Felton
Leonard Felton

Pre-existing conditions remains a part of the bill. So help me understand how that murders your husband. Get facts and stop listening to talking points. Stop being a sheep.

Cole Gillespie
Cole Gillespie

Still looking for the part of the constitution that gives the government the power to provide health care.

Justin Trentadue
Justin Trentadue

I'm still searching for that part of the constitution where it says government shall provide healthcare. Let me know when you find it. #taxationistheft

Laura Irvin Parks
Laura Irvin Parks

If taxation is theft, then you don't deserve police, fire, hospitals, military, roads or anything that makes us civilized. You are a cheapskate that wants the rest of us to PAY their way. I bet you don't leave tips either.

Justin Trentadue
Justin Trentadue

huh? wut? Muh roads? I actually have morals and believe in volunteerism. Just because I dont agree to forced legal plunder for what you have mentioned above, does not mean I am opposed to voluntarily contributing. There is a huge difference. \U0001f642

Laura Irvin Parks
Laura Irvin Parks

You are a cheapskate. No doubt, those around you know and despise you for it.

Justin Trentadue
Justin Trentadue

I am sorry that you are such an angry person. How do you know so much about me? Do you always ASSume things about others? If I prayed, I would pray for you.

Justin Trentadue
Justin Trentadue

How do you define a cheapskate? How is wanting to keep more or all of what I earn being a cheapskate? How is it moral for people like to take more of what I earn by force and give it to someone else? The latter question, by the way, is the exact definition of theft. I know its a hard concept to understand, but neither you, nor I are entitled to the fruits of another's labor.

Rob Fine
Rob Fine

Are they drinking on our dime, supplied by the moron in charge with our tax dollars?

Sandy Whitney
Sandy Whitney

E-MAIL AND CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND TELL THEM YOU WILL REMEMBER THEIR VOTE IN 2018 ! ! ! THEN E-MAIL AND CALL YOUR SENATORS TO TELL THEM YOU ARE WATCHING THEM ! ! !

Dirk Bender
Dirk Bender

Pretty amazing to see the people who have already lined up to defend this piece of garbage. So well trained. Also amazing to see media outlets calling this a "win" for Trump. It's a House bill; Presidents don't generally celebrate a job 1/3-done, but I guess Trump is desperate to claim something, anything, as an "accomplishment."

Rob Fine
Rob Fine

Well he did accomplish pissing off the voters again. He also just allowed drinking on the job and celebrating a fake win. Lying again about his ability to lead by encouraging pats on his back by simpletons in a rose garden.

Dirk Bender
Dirk Bender

Rob Fine eh, enjoying a beer while at the workplace isn't so bad. I'll let 'em slide on that. The rest, yes.

Leonard Felton
Leonard Felton

Dirk Bender just as amazing as those already lined up against it.

Dirk Bender
Dirk Bender

Leonard Felton Ok, I'll bite--what is there to LIKE about this bill? I'm pretty well up to speed about what's absolutely sucktacular about it, but maybe I've missed something awesome, something that actually benefits most Americans. Have at it.

John Johnson
John Johnson

FAKE NEWS! No one knows whats in the bill so you can't say what it does.

Jen Myllymaki
Jen Myllymaki

If no one knows what's in this mystery bill, then why did they vote on it????

John Johnson
John Johnson

Jen Myllymaki I ask the same thing about nobama care. The house has read the bill but the people have not. Remember the famous words of Nasty Nancy. "You have to pass it to see what's in it" Well the members of Congress can read this one.

Dawn Ross
Dawn Ross

This all about tax cuts for the wealthy, not healthcare for the people that put them in office to represent them.....sad.

Leonard Felton
Leonard Felton

You mean like it was all about taxing the wealthy in the original law. I'm sure you voluntarily pay more taxes than you're legally required.