Republicans looking still poor people’s health care

There had been much talk that Republican “moderates” if ever there was a relative term would balk at dismantling the Medicaid extension.  Lately, they seem plenty willing to take it away.  Sarah Kliff  (of course) on the very real dangers the ACA is currently facing in the Senate:

The Senate repeal plan is coming together — and looks a lot like the House repeal plan

Behind closed doors, Senate Republicans have worked out a path toward Obamacare repeal. The plans under discussion would end Medicaid expansion, causing millions of low-income Americans to lose health coverage. They may allow health insurance plans to charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions, too.

In other words: The emerging bill looks a whole lot like the unpopular bill the House passed last month. It creates the same group of winners (high-income, healthier people) and the same group of losers (low-income, sicker people).

The Republican plan is coming together because moderate senators are beginning to drop some of their initial repeal objections. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), for example, now back a plan to end the Medicaid expansion.

Both were ardent critics of the House bill’s deep Medicaid cuts, which would cause 14 million Americans who rely on the public program to lose coverage. Portman put out a harsh statement the day the House passed its health care bill.

“I’ve already made clear that I don’t support the House bill as currently constructed because I continue to have concerns that this bill does not do enough to protect Ohio’s Medicaid expansion population,” Portman said plainly.

But now Portman has endorsed a plan to phase out the Medicaid expansion entirely, just to do so on a longer timeline than the House bill. Portman and Moore Capito want a seven-year phase out, rather than the House bill’s three-year off-ramp.

At the end of the day, though, phasing out Medicaid expansion over seven years has the same effect as three years: You end coverage for millions of low-income Americans.

There are still major issues that divide Senate Republicans on repeal. There is disagreement, for example, over how much to cut the Medicaid program and what kind of subsidies to give people in the private market. But the fact that Republicans are coalescing around ending Medicaid expansion — once thought to be a major sticking point — suggests the path to repeal may be easier to find than initial expectations.

I especially like Drum’s response on this:

Ah, the fabled moderate Republicans. They hated the old repeal plan, which phased out Medicaid expansion in three years. But they love the new plan, which phases out Medicaid expansion in seven years. It turns out that taking health coverage away from millions of people was never really their problem. They just didn’t want it to happen so quickly that anyone would blame them for it. They’re real profiles in courage.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Republicans looking still poor people’s health care

  1. Terrant says:

    The difference between three and seven years is one a whole election cycle for senators rather than a half.

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