Stealthcare

Republicans claim they have a “health” care plan. Oddly, though, nobody but Republicans can see any health in it. And even some of them are having trouble with their eyes.

My go-to person when it comes to analyzing these kinds of things for amateurs like me is Sarah Kliff, who now works for Vox. She wrote:

I have spent the bulk of 2017 writing about the different Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Graham-Cassidy, in my view, is the most radical of them all.

While other Republican plans essentially create a poorly funded version of the Affordable Care Act, Graham-Cassidy blows it up.

Kliff features the most cynical part of the proposed legislation, cynicism so breathtaking that even in the age of Tr-mp it stuns:

The bill offered by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy takes money from states that did a good job getting residents covered under Obamacare and gives it to states that did not. It eliminates an expansion of the Medicaid program that covers millions of Americans in favor of block grants. States aren’t required to use the money to get people covered or to help subsidize low- and middle-income earners, as Obamacare does now.

Now, that first part—that the bill steals money from states that expanded Medicaid and gives it to those that refused to do so—hasn’t received enough attention on the cable news shows I have watched. It is goddamned disgusting that Republican Senators, like Ron Johnson of Wisconsin (a co-sponsor of the monstrosity and one of the biggest creeps in the U.S. Senate), are willing to go on TV or write editorials telling people that his red state has been getting ripped off by Obamacare while other states, blue states, have been making off with the loot. In USA Today, Johnson wrote:

Under Obamacare, three states with 20% of our population — California, New York and Massachusetts — get 36% of the funding. Our bill fixes that.

Johnson was on MSNBC this morning and said the same thing—without being challenged. In fact, I have yet to hear a cable news host or interviewer confront any Republican senator, who tries to sell such bullshit to voters, with this simple question: “If you feel that way, if you believe your state has been on the short end of the Obamacare stick, why haven’t you demanded that your Republican governor expand Medicaid under Obamacare and take care of more of your people?”

The reason red states don’t generally benefit as much from the ACA is because 20 Republican-controlled states have refused to expand Medicaid coverage to their citizens, the funding of which is almost all paid for by the federal government. And now the block-granting scheme in this new legislation will essentially reward those worthless Republican governors and legislatures by giving them money, in amounts that won’t do the job ultimately, that doesn’t have Obama’s name on it—and excising the “Obama” from Obamacare means more than anything to these cynical schmucks.

And speaking of those cynical schmucks, possibly 50 of them in the U.S. Senate are willing to vote for a scheme that not only is bent on damaging or destroying Medicaid, but its stinginess will have to be reauthorized in 2026, else there will be no Image result for poor people on medicaidfederal money, not a dollar, spent on health insurance for those who need it. I have heard Senator Cassidy, a physician who forgot his oath, essentially say, “Ah shucks. Don’t worry. Nobody’s gonna get hurt. Congress will keep the spending coming after ten years. Trust us.”

No thanks. There’s too much at stake, as the chart above demonstrates.

In any case Sarah Kliff goes on to discuss more of the GOP deathcare bill:

Insurers in the private marketplace would be allowed to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, for example. And it would eliminate the individual mandate as other bills would have, but this time there is no replacement. Most analysts agree that would inject chaos into the individual market.

Taken together, these components add up to a sweeping proposal sure to upend the American health care system. Because the Senate hasn’t seen an independent analysis yet from the Congressional Budget Office, I can’t even say for sure how sweeping, and neither can any of the Republicans who have come out in support of it.

Of course they can’t say how “sweeping” this bill will be. And they don’t want to know any of the details. The CBO is the last body they want to hear from. Besides that, they have ignored it in the past and there is no reason they will pay any attention to the CBO now. After all, Republicans don’t give a damn what the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospital Association, the National Rural Health Association, the Children’s Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the American Diabetes Association, the American Public Health Association, and other groups have to say about it (h/t to Rep. Don Beyer).

Nor do they even care what insurance groups have to say. America’s Health Insurance Plans is a political advocacy association representing 1300 health insurance companies. They don’t like this plan, even though I suspect that’s mostly because they fear it will lead to a single payer system. Blue Cross—bleeping Blue Cross, for God’s sake—released a statement full of “significant concerns” about Graham-Cassidy, saying it “would increase uncertainty in the marketplace, making coverage more expensive and jeopardizing Americans’ choice of health plans.” But more important, Blue Cross said:

The bill contains provisions that would allow states to waive key consumer protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Planned Parenthood and the AARP and advocates for the disabled and advocates for veterans (“A vote for #GrahamCassidy is a vote to take healthcare from veterans.”) and NARAL (“If #GrahamCassidyBill passes, ~13 mil women will lose access to maternity care. THIRTEEN MILLION.”) are all opposed to the bill. In fact, it is hard to find anyone outside of Republicans in Congress, and Tr-mp’s base of cultists (who will get hurt by this bill), who is in favor of it. But that doesn’t seem to matter.

The Sisters of Mercy, the Catholic group who advocates for the “poor, sick and uneducated,” said, “Time to Oppose Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill.” No, it is past time. Way past time. We can’t just blame this on Tr-mp. This is the fault of a GOP that will do anything—do anything to anyone outside its big-donor base—in order to rid the country of any traces of the Scary Negro who once sat in the White’s House. And nothing bothered them more than when he dared to put his uppity black hands on our healthcare system. They promised years and years ago they would lynch Obamacare. They meant it, even if they are having trouble finding the right rope.

Here is the number to the U.S. Capitol Switchboard, which can get you connected to the Senator of your choice:  (202) 224-3121. Besides what I included above from Sarah Kliff, there are other crappy provisions in this bill. Here is a link to a short summary of the biggest outrages and a “Sample Call Script” that you can use to help you talk to anyone who will listen.

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8 Comments

  1. This bill is sponsored and supported by — to quote a great US Senator before he was one — “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.”

    Liked by 3 people

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  2. Indeed. What a fine Senator he’s turned out to be. Smart and courageous.

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    • Yep. And presidential. We no longer have to worry about his comical past, with all that goes with it. He can prove, through his dedication to the issues, that he can be both outspokenly funny and policy-smart. Hope he dips his toes in the next contest.

      Duane

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  September 25, 2017

    GOP efforts are DOA, multiple times now. Dem alternatives have not been created with any specificity other than a vague reform ACA (meaning more federal $ for a program in real chaos). Until,……… Now we have the expected Medicare for All. I hope it makes it to the status of a “real bill” so IT can be scored by CBO. Coverage would be great (universal) but cost????

    I heard a wild figure last week, some $32 Trillion for that proposal but no idea where it came from other than out of the ass of some GOP opponent to same.

    The Great Divide is alive and well, thriving in fact, with still no end in sight. In the meantime ACA is going ………. without huge $ support from feds.

    I’m not sure which will come first, a HC proposal that will pass with true bipartisan support OR the Navy will find a way to train millennials to be good OODs!!

    Anson

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    • Anson,

      The ACA is not “in real chaos.” What problems there are are largely due to uncertainty, much of it created by Republicans over the years (think: Rubio’s claim of sabotaging Obamacare) and by the Tr-mp administration’s deliberate attempt to undermine the whole thing. It really is, or should be, a monumental scandal. But, alas, Tr-mp tweets carry the day. What is going on is insurance companies, who thrive on stability and predictability, are unsure of the future. And, of course, Republicans know that. Thus, their strategy. Thankfully, a few GOP Senators have recognized what is going on and have, for the moment, refused to play the game. We’ll see what happens this week, but for now it looks like a bi-partisan effort to patch up the ACA still has some faint life in it.

      As for Medicare for all, don’t hold your breath. I’ll have more to say on that later. I have my own thoughts on how Democrats should proceed on that front. Suffice it to say for now that the ridiculous estimates you have heard are what will fuel the propaganda in the 2018 and 2020 elections. If Democrats don’t figure out a way to overcome this bullshit, they’ll find themselves losing–again.

      Duane

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  September 26, 2017

    Duane,

    I look forward to your future explanations how MFA (medicare for all) can be paid for. I am all for that program but only IF……….

    Yes, we hear BS coming from all sides in the HC debate. It starts with “We need it no matter what it costs”. It continues with “nobody knows the cost of the program”. Actually that is not BS, it is the truth. It is just proposing any legislation without really knowing the costs of such. Finally and seen herein is when government runs HC the cost will dramatically go down. Oh yeah?

    We Americans actually pay about $3.5 Trillion each year for HC. But that is not enough as hundreds of thousands (pick a number) die or live in pure pain and despair due to inability to pay for HC. OK, cut that cost number in half, even by 3/4’s and see what kind of HC for all really means. As well if a $600 Billion per year program (current Medicare) suffers $75 Billion a year in waste, fraud and abuse, well tell me what kind of money with be wasted on the new MFA proposed program. My guess is such numbers will be in the range of DOD budgets, when all is said and done.

    I AGREE with all the moral arguments for MFA. But my God, the unintended consequences of launching a multi-$Trillion program without really knowing the costs are enormous as well. We have gone to war repeatedly without acknowledging the costs of such wars and take it even further by just running up the National Debt as if it was “nothing” in doing so. As well we keep losing those wars also. So are we going to start a new “war” to battle HC and wind up losing it as well (like the war on drugs).

    Anson

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    • Anson,

      My (relatively) short answer, with more coming on some future date as I figure out where I come down on all this, is the following:

      1. You rightly want to know the cost of any single-payer system and its “unintended consequences.” But the problem with getting anything close to good numbers is partly because of the intermediate or transitional phase necessary for any transformation from what we have now. I don’t even know how one would begin to figure such costs, because we don’t know what the specific transition mechanism will eventually be, if it comes to be at all. Thus, I fear this gap in knowledge, and the uncertainty in the phase-in period, will prove to be a great opportunity for demagoguery by Republicans. I see it already. Most Americans have what they consider to be decent insurance and are naturally reluctant to see it tampered with. And, obviously, any transition will have problems that arise that will need addressed, and in today’s fractured political environment, I don’t see how those problems will get addressed. If we don’t put Democrats firmly in charge in Congress and the White’s House, or if we don’t have a visit from God that convinces Republicans that single-payer healthcare is not the end of America as we know it, I’m afraid we will continue to limp along.

      2. I think you continue to ignore the cost of continuing with our complex private insurance model. We pay way too much for care, as every analyst admits. But not all of them will admit that the reason we do is related to the jury-rigged system we have, which is historically based on employers providing insurance to their employees from private, competing companies. And while these private insurers do have some leverage in negotiating price ceilings with healthcare providers, they don’t have nearly the power that a single-payer entity would have. So, I would ask you to consider the cost of doing nothing, or the cost of doubling-down on what we have done for decades now (which is sort of wha the GOP is proposing).

      3. I don’t see what the war on drugs has to do with providing folks with affordable healthcare.

      4. I am glad you “AGREE with all the moral arguments for MFA.” That sets you apart from most of your friends on the right. The moral case is the strongest case, the rest is just pesky details that can be worked out.

      Duane

      Liked by 1 person

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