Friday, June 23, 2017

Obama's reaction to new Trumpcare bill

President Obama had some choice words for the Senate Republicans' so-called health care bill that was finally released Thursday.

"The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill.  It's a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.

"It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else.   Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions.   Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again.   Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

"Simply put, if there's a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family -- this bill will do you harm.  And small tweaks over the course of the next couple of weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation."

Four members of the Republican caucus have signed a letter saying they cannot support it in its present form.   Because those four include libertarian Rand Paul and superconvservatives Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, and Mike Lee, the objection is not that it is too mean.  Their objections are that is it not clearly enough a "repeal of Obamacare," and it does not do enough to lower costs.  Changing it to suit them might risk losing more moderate senators like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and Rob Portman.   McConnell's going to have trouble getting to 50.   He can't lose more than two of his caucus of 52.

Some of the effects of the bill:

1.  It rolls back most of the tax on the wealthy that offsets much of the cost of lower premiums for lower income groups.
2.  Like the House bill, it reduces the Medicare payments;  it just does it more slowly but eventually cuts more deeply.  It puts the burden on the states for anything above the block grants it gives them.
3.  It eliminates the individual mandate to carry insurance, which will greatly reduce the number of younger and healthy people from enrolling, resulting in higher premiums for the older and the sicker people.
4.  It doesn't outright eliminate a requirement to cover pre-existing condition.  But it gives states the option to charge higher premiums through "high risk pools."  Thus, people with pre-existing conditions may simply be priced out of the market.
5.  It allows states more options to allow insurance carriers to eliminate coverage for "essential services," like maternity, mental health, etc.
6.  It allows funds to be paid to Planned Parenthood, but only for the first year.
7.  The OMB has not yet scored the bill, but it's obvious that many millions will lose coverage -- from lack of affordability and less generous subsidies.

There's more;   but this is enough (for me) to absorb for now.   President Trump, just a few weeks following his Rose Garden Party to celebrate the House bill, now calls that one "mean."   Now he says that the Senate bill is going to be "fantastic."

Yeah?   Meaning:   anything good about it is imaginary?   That kind of fantastic?


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