Republicans love tax cuts for the rich to the point that they would kill for them.
The Affordable Health Care Act (better known as the ACA or Obamacare) has an “individual mandate” to force people to buy insurance. This produces larger underwriting pools to spread risk better. Bogus policies are banned. Simply put, insurance companies are forced to issue policies that actually insure people.
Keep in mind, Obamacare was originally a Republican idea, originated by the conservative Heritage Foundation. So were Republicans overjoyed when Obamacare was passed? Not a bit. They did everything possible to obstruct it. They passed 63 silly bills to repeal it. The Republican-dominated Supreme Court allowed states to limit the expansion of Medicaid (for poor people). But over 20 million people signed up for Obamacare. It created around 240,000 new health-care jobs to meet the extra demand.
Trumpcare was never intended to improve America’s medical health. It was intended to improve the financial health of America’s wealthy (that “exciting conservative reform”).
For many, Obamacare is truly a lifesaver. Yet repealing it became an article of faith that made conservatives salivate like Pavlov’s famous dogs. Donald Trump promised that Republicans would deliver “better benefits at a tiny fraction of the cost.” This was entirely false. The legislation drafted by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, did the exact opposite. Ryan proudly said that it was “a monumental, exciting conservative reform.”
Trumpcare would have abolished the individual mandate and left insurers with smaller pools of sicker people, driving up premiums. It would have turned Medicaid into fixed grants, regardless of soaring medical costs, driving up premiums. Coverage for pre-existing conditions would have been effectively denied due to exorbitant deductibles. Being female would have been a pre-existing condition; Planned Parenthood and maternity care would have been chopped. Millions of poor people stood to lose their coverage because the tax credits (to replace Obamacare’s subsidies) would not have been large enough.
The hardest-hit would have been people over 60, many of whom are dirt poor and voted for Trump. They stood to lose over $6,000 a year in subsidies, a huge blow considering that the nation’s median income (half below, half above) is a mere $30,000 a year. Many suffer from opioid addiction for which treatment would have been axed. Rural hospitals treating mainly poor Republicans would have been closed due to the increase in uninsured patients.
Many Republican politicians refused to go along with this brutality, fearing annihilation in the next election. Others in the Freedom Caucus loathed it since it left some of the hated Obamacare in place, thereby reducing everyone’s “freedom.”
Ultimately, Trumpcare’s fate was sealed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). It calculated that 24 million Americans would lose health insurance. It said millions would face steep premium increases and higher out-of-pocket costs. They would face much greater penalties for being uninsured. Dirt-poor Republicans finally woke up. At town hall meetings, they showed their fury at being sacrificed to benefit rich Republicans.
The loss of health insurance would have been their death sentence. The CBO estimated that 19,700 people a year would die from Trumpcare. Bernie Sanders estimated 36,000. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the number would exceed 44,000. Let us assume that Trumpcare would have killed an estimated 33,000 people a year.
Mark you, Trumpcare was never intended to improve America’s medical health. It was intended to improve the financial health of America’s wealthy (that “exciting conservative reform”). It would have removed the taxes on the wealthy that fund the subsidies for the poor. Bernie was clear: “At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, its primary purpose is to provide even more tax breaks to the rich. Under the current Republican proposal, the top 2 percent of income earners would receive $275 billion in tax breaks.”
So over 10 years, 330,000 people would have died to give $275 billion to people already rolling in money. This is $833,333 for each victim of “conservatism.” Republicans would have told the mourners at the funeral, “He had to die so we could give $833,333 to our rich friends. But think of that exciting conservative reform and all that freedom we gave him!”
This lunacy is “logical” in its own sick way. Poor people in Red states have consistently voted against their own interests for 40 years. Dirt-poor Republicans have become so brainwashed that Ryan had no hesitation in presenting this insanity with a straight face. But enough Republicans came to their senses that President Trump could not close the deal. Ryan told Trump that the Republican health plan was D.O.A. … because too many Republicans would have been D.O.A.!
Stop laughing. Insanity is never funny, certainly not in the highest echelons of America’s government. Insanity is definitely not funny when it seems that Republicans will keep trying to repeal Obamacare regardless of the misery inflicted.