It’s not all relative

Paul Waldman with an important reminder on the latest iteration of the Republican Senate health care bill:

Senate Republicans are releasing the latest version of their health-care plan today, and there’s a temptation to focus solely on what’s changed from the previous iteration. The changes are important, and we have to understand them. But what we shouldn’t do is allow a relative judgment (maybe it’s better in this way but worse in that way) to distract us from the big picture, because what’s still in the bill from before is even more important than what has changed.

The big picture is that this bill is an absolute nightmare that would cause a spectacular amount of human suffering — and yes, even deaths — if it were to pass. It would mean fewer people with coverage, more people having trouble affording coverage, less protection and less security.

Let’s go through the major provisions in the bill…

  • The bill would utterly eviscerate Medicaid, which is relied on by tens of millions of poor, elderly and disabled Americans. It would roll back the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid and cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the program. It would also transform the program into a block grant, for the first time allowing states to kick enrollees off their coverage and cut back benefits.
  • The bill allows insurers to sell bare-bones plans that go by the name “insurance” but cover very little, as long as they also offer a plan that meets the “essential health benefits” requirement of the ACA. This in effect sets up two pools, one containing young and healthy people, and one containing people who are older or who have more serious health needs. The insurance industry, along with many analysts, predict that this could produce a death spiral of skyrocketing costs for those with preexisting conditions…

If your Republican senator votes for this plan, he or she is supporting gutting Medicaid, taking away health coverage from at least 20 million Americans and potentially the end of real protections for those with preexisting conditions, higher deductibles, less help for those with modest incomes, potentially the return of lifetime limits on coverage (outlawed by the ACA), which turn a health-care challenge into a financial calamity, and an attack on women’s health choices.

In short, this bill is an abomination. No one should be able to get away with saying, “Well, it’s a little better than it was before.” All that does is obscure how spectacularly cruel it is. [emphasis mine]

Of course, that’s what many “moderate” Republicans will surely say.  At this point, the really big question is just how many.

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

One Response to It’s not all relative

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    In the end, it’s all about the money. Republicans don’t want to pay taxes except to protect their own property and their own lives, and they certainly don’t want to pay for other peoples’ needs.

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