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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They Own It Now. The Fight Is On.

As House Republicans crudely celebrated what is right now only a symbolic screwing of the sick, the poor, the middle class, and anyone who doesn’t have great wealth; as they rudely rejoiced in doing what their rich donors wanted them to do; as they bathed Image result for republicans celebrate with trump at white house todayin the orange glory of one of the most shameful votes in modern times, they did so while all of us in the Resistance are watching.

And waiting and working for 2018 and 2020.

The Republican Party, no matter what happens to BillyCare in the Senate, now will be held officially responsible for all of the problems with our health insurance and healthcare system. All of the problems. Every single one. As my hero Nancy Pelosi put it to her GOP colleagues before the vote:

Some of you have said … well, they’ll fix it in the Senate. But you have every provision of this bill tattooed on your forehead. You will glow in the dark on this one.

As we wait for the calendar to turn, as we save our pennies to donate to Democratic candidates in competitive districts, our job as Resisters is to keep up the pressure, keep up the protests, keep writing our representatives, and keep demanding the press pursue and tell the truth about Tr-mp and what the GOP is doing to the country. Keep tattooing Republicans. Keep them glowing in the dark.

Let’s go over a few numbers. Democrats need to pick up 24 seats between now and 2019 to take back the House. In 2016, Republicans won 23 seats in districts that voted for Hillary Clinton. That is the place to start, of course. Today, only nine of those 23 voted against that legislative monstrosity laughingly called a “health” bill. So, at least 14 of those 23 who voted “yes” are absolutely vulnerable next time (several of them waited until the last minute to see if their vote was needed; turned out it was). The other nine will have to go too, of course. Even though they didn’t support the bill (although some of them undoubtedly were ready to do so if necessary), they should remove the “R” tatoo from their bodies after today. If they don’t, they will glow in the dark right along with their reactionary friends. But we can’t just focus on those 23 House districts. That wouldn’t be enough and we may not win them all. There are a least a couple dozen other seats currently held by Republicans that, given Tr-mp and Tr-mpism, we have to fight for. NBC News’ Bradd Jaffy pointed out that “25 of 35 House GOP in competitive districts voted ‘yes'” today. The Democratic Party has to recruit good candidates in all those districts and fund them to the hilt.

In the 2018 Senate elections, Democrats will have to defend a staggering 23 seats and Republicans only nine (the two “independents” are also up). Those elections will be tough because many of those Democratic seats are in states, like Indiana and here in Missouri, that Tr-mp won last time and won big. But we have a good chance of taking Nevada from the Republicans and, believe it or not, Arizona is in play and, if things get really crazy, so is Texas. Probably the most optimistic view is that Democrats hold all their seats and win two, meaning a 50-50 Senate split and, sadly, Mike Pence would be king. Probably the most realistic view is that Democrats hold most of their seats and pick off a Republican and either end up where they are now or slightly worse or slightly better. And in case you have your hopes up for 2020, where Republicans have many more seats to defend, I suggest you take a look at this sober and sobering analysis of those elections from a Daily Kos contributor. As I said, it’s tough.

But we don’t know what politics will look like in four years, where the defeat of Tr-mp, if he’s still around, is certainly going to be paramount. For now, the focus is 2018. And Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and those on that side of the Democratic Party have to stop attacking it and start talking it up. Centrist and conservative-leaning Democrats will have to do the same, even as we all properly make Tr-mp and the resulting Tr-mpism the focus of this fight. As many have said, it’s “all hands on deck” time.

I mentioned that we need to start saving our pennies to help fund good candidates. They might not be the most liberal or progressive candidates in some cases. They may not share all of your or my ideological preferences. But if they believe in the basics of the Democratic Party—like insuring that the economy and our political system works for all Americans, not just the rich—they deserve our support. I just want to emphasize something important: the protests are great; our letters and emails and calls to Congress are great; expressing opinions in local papers is great; writing blogs is great; engaging others on Facebook and Image result for dollar signTwitter and elsewhere is great. But our political system, as we all know, operates on money. It shouldn’t but it does.

So, when I say save your pennies for the upcoming fight, I mean to say that money is a big part of this, too. Democrats need your determined spirit, your energy, your commitment. But they also need your money. If you don’t have a lot of dough under your mattress or you don’t have a wad of cash buried in a jar in the back yard, start some kind of formal or informal savings plan to make sure you have some financial resources available to share with the only mechanism we have that can stop what we saw today.

Say what you want about Bernie Sanders and the campaign he ran last time, but he managed to rake in a lot of cash from “little guy” donors. Millions of them. And, according to Open Secrets, Hillary Clinton’s campaign (not including the big SuperPAC supporting her) raised over $105 million from “small individual contributions.” So, especially now that the reality of Tr-mp is sinking in across the country, we know plenty of people are willing to part with their hard-earned money to fight the good fight.

Save up. In fact, toss a buck or two in a jar right now and get it started. The 2018 campaign has already begun.

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[photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty]

Senator Claire McCaskill’s One Minute Message To Rural Missourians About Tr-mpcare

Needing only about a minute, my senator, Claire McCaskill, tells her fellow Missourians, particularly rural Missourians who voted for Tr-mp overwhelmingly in this state, just what the GOP has in store for them in their new Tr-mpcare plan:

In Praise Of Experience In The Democratic Party’s Fight Against Tr-mpcare

There is a lot of talk among Democrats and left-leaners that the leadership in the Democratic Party is too old and what is needed is new blood. Well, not so fast.

Sure, any political party needs new and younger folks coming into it to supply both energy and fresh ideas. But a healthy party is one in which a combination of experience and youthful exuberance and idealism prevails. After the devastating Congressional Budget Office report on the Republicans’ replacement for Obamacare came out on Monday, what we needed was competence and experience to explain just how devastating it was and how much harm the plan would do to Americans, the poor, the sick, and the old. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer provided that experience.

The video below is the press conference they held. Pay attention to how they marshalled the arguments supplied by the CBO’s analysis of the proposed legislation, and pay attention to how they represented institutional memory—as congressional veterans of past fights with Republicans over health reform—that highlighted Republican hypocrisy and duplicity. Oh. If you don’t watch the entire 16 minutes, at least go to the discussion (starting around 13:40) in which the point is made that it will be rural red state folks who will get hurt and blue state wealthier people who will actually benefit from the heartless GOP plan. Yet, two prominent Democrats are standing there in defense of the red state Republicans. Nothing represents better the differences between the two parties. Watch:

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