Whoomp, there it is! The long awaited Republican healthcare bill hit the partisan fan this week. Aaand everybody hates it. No really, everybody. Doctor, nurse and hospital organizations have come out against the plan. Liberals and Democrats are pretty much a given when it comes to chewing up and spitting out Obama’s legacy in the Post-Election Cold War era. But surprisingly, conservatives are also giving the bill the thumbs down – from moderates to grassroots to establishment Republicans to the alt-right. So why are Republicans against their own plan, you ask? Depends who you ask: the government is still paying too much, the government isn’t paying enough, the bill is not “free market” enough, it’s too similar to Obamacare, etc., etc. On top of which, President Trump now has to deal with the Congressional Budget Office grading the bill a big red F. Just what the doctor ordered.
So who are the winners of the Make America Sick Again Act? In an unexpected plot twist, rich people. The government’s wallet. Young people. And especially healthy people. Yay! And who are the losers? Women who choose to have an abortion. Poor people. Old people. And especially poor, old people in rural areas, including a lot of Trump voters. Sad! The main takeaway? 24 million people will lose their health insurance over the next decade, including 14 million who will lose Medicaid coverage next year and 7 million who will lose employer coverage. Also, now that there’s no penalty for not having insurance, healthy people will probably opt out, leaving sick people who need insurance to pay higher rates. Anything else? Yep. A grand total of 6 pages of the bill is devoted to cost saving measures around kicking lottery winners off Medicaid. Yes, really. There goes the Powerball vote.
So what are Donald Dealmaker Trump and Prime Minister Paul Ryan going to do now that the bill is on life support? Well Trump is heading into his first major legislative fight by deploying the slick salesman tactics he sharpened over several decades in New York real estate: playing golf, going bowling and twisting arms in order to make sure the bill isn’t “dead on arrival” in Congress. Ryan is rolling up his sleeves, getting out the colored markers and butchers paper and doing his best “I’m a cool dad” impression. And they’ve both warned of the impending dangers of not passing the bill: namely a (presumably metaphorical) “bloodbath” – i.e. midterm election voter backlash. TBD on whether they’ll be successful but an aging population all but guarantees that federal expenditures on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will soar – so fixing healthcare miiight be a high priority. Six years ago the idea of repealing Obamacare alone was enough to unite the party, but now it seems like the GOP is falling ill under the strain of replacementitus.
Feel like healthcare might be in need of a magical cure? Movie for your mood: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them