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Hullabaloo


Thursday, March 09, 2017

 

Stock up on popcorn

by Tom Sullivan

Reading through the House draft Obamacare replacement bill, don't get eye strain looking for the "something terrific" Trump promised. It's not there. Nor is it likely to be as the bill advances as it did in the wee hours this morning:

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans scored a pre-dawn triumph Thursday in their effort to scuttle former President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, but it masked deeper problems as hospitals, doctors and consumer groups mounted intensifying opposition to the GOP health care drive.

After nearly 18 hours of debate and over two dozen party-line votes, Republicans pushed legislation through the Ways and Means Committee abolishing the tax penalty Obama's statute imposes on people who don't purchase insurance and reshaping how millions of Americans buy medical care.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee was still in session at 5 a.m. EST this morning, the Hill reports:
The committee had only made its way through five amendments as of early Thursday morning, meaning Democrats could drag the markup through the rest of the week.

Democrats complained that Republicans are marking up the bill without a score from the Congressional Budget Office, which will indicate how many people may lose coverage under the GOP plan and how much it will cost.

Republicans shot down amendments from Democrats that would have removed a provision defunding Planned Parenthood, kept ObamaCare's patient protections and change the title of the bill to "Republican Pay More For Less Act."
Republicans expressed confidence that once it scores the bill's impacts the CBO will conclude the bill will not throw millions off their health insurance.

Democrat Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts was not hearing any of it. “I was struck last night by a comment that I heard made by Speaker Ryan, where he called this repeal bill ‘an act of mercy.’ With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different Scripture,” Kennedy said. "There is no mercy in a system that makes healthcare a luxury." Like one of Al Pacino's characters, he was just getting warmed up, calling the bill "an act of malice."

Kennedy will have friends. Major players are lining up against the bill, including the American Medical Association, AARP, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospital Association, and others. The New York Times reports:
House Republicans have been left scrambling to marshal support from businesses and other interests that stand to benefit from lower taxes if the bill passes. Insurers are on the fence, and other powerful forces like pharmaceutical companies remain largely on the sidelines.

Squeezed between wary health care providers and angry conservatives who believe that the bill leaves too much of the Affordable Care Act in place, the Republican leadership and President Trump appear to be facing an uphill climb.
E.J. Dionne writes that it should not come as a surprise that Republicans will make things worse:
This is what their replacement of Obamacare would do. Democrats have quickly labeled the bill “Trumpcare,” and why not? Trump described it as “wonderful.” What’s interesting about his embrace is that the proposal fails (forgive me) bigly in living up to the joyous health-care future Trump envisioned.

“Everybody’s got to be covered,” the magician of Mar-a-Lago said on “60 Minutes” in September 2015. “I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.” Trump’s campaign pledges were so sweeping that Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), his then-rival for the Republican presidential nomination, cast Trump as a fan of a single-payer system.
Dionne reminds readers of Trump's fondness for “truthful hyperbole” as “an innocent form of exaggeration.”
But exaggeration is not innocent when it means depriving the old, the sick and the poor of health insurance. If there is one beautiful thing about the health-care proposal House Republicans released this week, it is that it exposes how much untruthful hyperbole Republicans engaged in about Obamacare and what they would replace it with.
Why should they care about the well being of others? There's no cure for what they've got. #GOPdontcare