As the calls for serious investigations into the activities of the new President and his men grow louder, Republicans in Washington rolled out their latest attempt to distract our nation with their latest shiny object. Finally, and with a collective sigh of relief, Republicans, excluding the President, were all over Capitol Hill announcing their much anticipated Obamacare replacement plan. The official rollout of the new healthcare plan by Press Secretary Sean Spicer included a comparison between the number of pages in the existing and the replacement healthcare plans. For the sophomoric Republicans, when comparing Obamacare versus Trumpcare, size does matter, just as it did during their 2016 nominating process.
Dubbed by Republicans as The American Healthcare Act, Secretary Spicer took pride in pointing out how small the 123 page proposal looked sitting next to what was represented as the 955 page Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. Perhaps the reason the new Republican proposal appeared small is that it takes far fewer pages to repeal the multiple and varied benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act when the replacement plan is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
According to the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, the subsidies that allowed individuals earning $48,000 annually or less, up to $90,000 for families of four, to purchase healthcare coverage will be gone, as the Speaker has vowed that,
The plan replaces the income based subsidies with yearly tax credits up to $2,000 for individuals with incomes less than $75,000 annually, and for families earning up to $150,000. The tax credit rises to $4,000 per year for people over 60 years of age. Individuals with annual incomes of $20,000 or less will suffer, as will women who rely on preventative care from Planned Parenthood, as the bill eliminates all federal funding for the organization, some 40% of Planned Parenthood’s annual budget. Like the bad reality television show the present administration is,
“The biggest loser would be a 60-year-old, who would receive only $4,000, instead of nearly $9,900 under Obamacare.”
It should also be noted that 57% of our fellow Americans are unable to pay for an unexpected $500 expense such as for auto repairs or a medical bill.
The much hated individual mandate will be eliminated by phasing out the penalty collected by the IRS as of the 2018 tax year. People will still pay a penalty, but it will now be in the form of a 30% surcharge tacked on to their insurance premium after becoming insured again, following any lapse in coverage of up to 63 days or more. This represents a transfer of public dollars that previously supported the ACA by providing funds for subsidies and medicaid expansion from the United States Treasury directly into the pockets of private insurance companies. Another gift to insurance companies is that they may once again pay their executives exorbitant compensation packages, by doubling the limits on executive pay deductions from $500,000 to $1,000,000.
Starting in 2020 the federal requirement of specific services in qualified health plans hospitalization, maternity care, mental health services, wellness visits, and screening testing will be eliminated.
Come 2020 the proposal also ends the Medicaid expansion in the states that agreed to participate in the ACA program. The ACA expanded Medicaid to include enrollees beyond the blind, pregnant women, dependent children, and the disabled.
The candidate, now the President, promised Americans many things during the campaign, most of which cannot be delivered, primarily because the Republicans that run Congress won’t allow them. He promised the repeal and replacement of Obamacare by giving us better healthcare plans at lower prices. Not only did he pledge that no one who had gained coverage under the ACA would lose coverage and,
Conservatives are already opposing the new Healthcare proposal. Some have referred to the proposals “Obamacare Lite” not going far enough towards the total repeal of the ACA. Some Senate Republicans concerned about their chances tor reelection have expressed concerns over the reduction in Medicaid expansion, which will cause many to lose their coverage.
Of course, the claims and promises by the President and his Republican cohorts once again are proving to be untrue. We are now being set up to end Obamacare, and a time where the percentage of uninsured in America is at and all time low, and trending even lower, to facing the loss of healthcare for an estimated 30 million citizens.
Once again, the public has been conned by the new President and his enablers in the Republican Congress. The voters were promised that they would keep their coverage and that it would be replaced by something better, less expensive, and more inclusive. The reality of the new plan fulfills none of these promises. The bill is also proceeding through the House without having been scored by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
“Many Republicans remain worried about whether the nonpartisan CBO will score the House bill as costing a lot of money while increasing the number of uninsured Americans.”
History suggests that these worried Republicans are right. Stripped of all of the revenue generating mechanisms and chocked full of new tax benefits that go mostly to the wealthy who do not need them, the new Republican healthcare plan probably will result in a sharp increase in the budget deficit. This Republican Party and this President spent their time sniping at each other during their nominating process over height, hands, and the proportions of their private parts. Once again, for this band of sophomoric Republicans, when comparing Obamacare versus Trumpcare, size does matter.