March 14, 2017 1 Comment
So much to say.
1) Hooray, that the CBO really is a meaningfully independent entity.
2) Of course we knew it was going to be bad. But, still, it’s pretty amazing to see just how bad. Naturally, Vox’s Sarah Kliff has a great summary. And Alvin Chang’s summary in chart form. This includes the best chart I’ve seen on the subsidies, too:
3) Kliff’s winners and losers summary:
Loser: The Republican Party. Republicans in Congress and in the Trump administration are now going to face a barrage of questions about why their health care bill leaves so many Americans uninsured. Trump in particular has promised repeatedly that he’d write a bill that covers everyone. His top advisers said as recently as this weekend that nobody would lose coverage under AHCA. The CBO report tells us that isn’t true — and you can bet this is exactly what reporters are going to want to talk about…
The CBO report shows that AHCA is fundamentally a redistribution from the poor to the middle class and wealthy.
The people who need more help affording coverage will get less — and those who need less help will get more. The bill will cut programs such as Medicaid and substantially reduce financial help for the lowest-earning Americans who purchase their own coverage. Those funds will go towards higher insurance subsidies for the middle class and tax cuts that almost exclusively benefit the ultra-wealthy.
4) Michael Tomasky on Republican lies and lies and lies on health care. \
If Obama got Lie of the Year over 4 million, what does Trump get over 24 million? True, the competition for lies is a lot more robust than it was in that now innocent-seeming year of 2013. But surely this deserves some kind of prize.
The Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the American Health Care Act describes, in dry budgetary language, a social catastrophe. The bill would deprive 14 million American citizens of their health insurance next year, a number that would rise to 24 million by the end of the decade. It is a proposal that could only be enacted by a party in the grips of an combination of ideological and partisan fanaticism unfathomable to most of the world, and even to most Americans. [emphases mine]
The changes Trumpcare would impose upon the health-care system are easy to understand. It is, quite simply, a redistribution bill. It would reduce taxes on the rich, and thus reduce the amount of subsidies for coverage for people who can’t obtain it through their job or Medicare. By 2026, CBO finds, the average subsidy would be about half as large. But the cut would not be distributed evenly. Middle- to upper-middle class customers buying insurance, especially young and healthy ones, would get larger subsidies. Poor, sick, and old customers would get enormous cuts in their subsidy levels…
This proposal, the centerpiece of the new all-Republican government’s legislative agenda, is an expression of its shared philosophy. Donald Trump has altered the Republican stance on trade and immigration, not to mention self-enrichment by the First Family and the routine propagation of conspiracy theories by the chief executive. But he has hewed closely to the party’s conviction that the central problem in American life is a government that redistributes too much from the privileged to the underprivileged.
But here is the one-sentence summary: Under the GOP’s bill, the more help you need, the less you get.
The AHCA would increase the uninsured population by about 24 million people — which is more people than live in New York state. But the raw numbers obscure the cruelty of the choices. The policy is particularly bad for the old, the sick, and the poor. It is particularly good for the rich, the young, and the healthy.
Also, via Ezra, it is absolutely amazing how increasingly untethered to reality Paul Ryan is sounding:
It is within this context that it is worth reading Speaker Paul Ryan’s response to the report.
“CBO report confirms it,” he tweeted. “American Health Care Act will lower premiums & improve access to quality, affordable care.”Let’s break that down. According to the CBO, the lower premiums Ryan celebrates (which are, mind you, only 10 percent lower after 10 years — and that’s after rising initially) are largely the product of driving older people out of the market and letting insurers offer plans that cover fewer medical expenses and require more out-of-pocket spending. This is not “lower premiums” as most Americans understand the term.
But it is Ryan’s last five words that demand the most attention. He says his bill will “improve access to quality, affordable care.” I am trying, and failing, to find a way to read this statement generously.
Ryan is not arguing with the CBO score here. He is not saying the CBO is wrong and more people will be covered under his bill. He is saying the CBO is right, and its analysis proves his bill will improve access to quality, affordable care.
So he is saying that a bill that throws 24 million people off insurance is a bill that improves access to quality, affordable care.
It certainly appears that Ryan has taken some lessons in Orwellinan doublespeak from Trump. When, oh when, will the media stop treating him as a bold truthteller and calling him out for the fabulist that he is?!
And, a couple of tweets for fun: