Escape Plan

“When we win on Nov. 8th and elect a Republican Congress, we will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare,” then candidate Trump said at a Pennsylvania rally last November. Looks like you’re going to be waiting a little bit longer.

With a Republican controlled Congress, Donald Trump failed to deliver on his campaign promise on Friday. What went wrong? A LOT.

Credit: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Introduced by House Budget chair Diane Black and approved by Trump’s own Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was a disaster upon delivery.

The American Hospital Association, AARP, American Medical Association and the Federation of American Hospitals quickly objected to the AHCA within days of its announcement.

In a letter to two House committees, the American Medical Association expressed concern with changing the criteria for tax credits from income to age under the AHCA and the changes made to Medicaid.

Millions of Americans gained health coverage under Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, which began in 2014. However, the AHCA would have frozen the expansion in January 2020.

If successful, the AHCA would have changed the Medicaid program into a block grant. The federal government would give a lump-sum fund to the state, which would then be divided among the state’s enrollees. This method is not flexible, which means if you have a situation like Indiana’s 2015 AIDS outbreak, you may find your state’s healthcare being rationed like a muffin in a Titanic lifeboat.

The GOP plan claims to remove the Obamacare mandate, when in reality they replaced it with a much harsher one.

If you have a two-month lapse in coverage, insurers can then charge you a 30% premium surcharge for a full year. The mandate penalty under Obamacare went back into the law. Under the AHCA, the surcharge fee would have gone to the insurance companies.

Not only would the AHCA/Trumpcare deliver on finally defunding Planned Parenthood, it would also achieve another long sought GOP goal.

“Keep your eye on the ball – the primary purpose of the GOP health bill is to cut taxes on the rich. The rest is window-dressing,” former Reagan adviser Bruce Bartlett tweeted earlier this month.

The Joint Committee on Taxation found the GOP’s repeal and replace plan would result in $594 billion in tax cuts over a decade. The largest single cut is the ACA’s 3.8% investment income tax ($158 billion).

The non-partisan Tax Policy Center shows eliminating the investment income tax would exclusively benefit the nation’s most wealthy. Those among the top 0.1% would receive a tax break of $165,090.00 a year.

2nd dt

Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

Under Trumpcare, the Tax Policy Center also determined low income earners would be hit hardest. Those making under $10,000 a year would lose $1,400 in government support compared to what they currently receive under Obamacare, while those making $200,000 and above would receive an increase of $5,640.

A CBO analysis concluded Trumpcare would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over a decade. Don’t get too excited brah; that savings comes from Medicaid cuts and reduced tax credits. By 2026, the same plan projects 24 million more uninsured people than currently covered under Obamacare. The plan actually leaves more people without insurance than a simple repeal of Obamacare.

A January CBO analysis found a simple repeal would result in 23 million without insurance in 2026 compared to Trumpcare’s 24 million.

Not only did House Speaker Ryan and the Trump administration support an atrocious healthcare bill, they failed to check if they even had the support of their own party before introducing it.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus were first to come out against the bill, opposing similarities to Obamacare and lack of a full repeal of Obama’s landmark healthcare law.

House Freedom Caucus co-founder, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, described the bill as “Obamacare by a different form.”

After the March 13th release of the CBO report, moderate Republicans came out against the bill due to the large number of uninsured Americans under the law.

Imagine ordering a pizza and assuming everyone wanted anchovies.

Prior to meeting with the President days later, the Freedom Caucus met with Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon.

“Guys, look. This is not discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill,” Bannon reportedly said. Call me crazy, but this was probably not the best approach to take with a group called the Freedom Caucus.

After Bannon’s failed diplomacy, Trumpcare would go through more adjustments than a Star Wars special edition in an attempt to gain support.

Among the adjustments was an amendment which allowed states to introduce a work requirement for select Medicaid recipients.

On March 23rd, the second CBO report showed the latest version of Trumpcare would now reduce the originally projected federally deficit savings from $337 billion to $150 billion. Yet the plan would still lead to 24 million more uninsured Americans. Did nobody explain to the Republicans they were bringing down the wrong number?

shutterstock

Credit: shutterstock

Originally scheduled for last Thursday, the healthcare vote was postponed after President Trump was notified it did not have the support needed to pass the House.

How did the man who declared he would “make great deals for our country” negotiate the bill from there? By making it worse.

The White House agreed with a late Thursday night amendment to scrap the essential health benefits under Obamacare.

Under Obamacare, plans must cover such services as maternity care, hospitalization, emergency services, mental health and substance abuse services, among others. Under Trumpcare, plan requirements would be left up to the states.

For seven years the GOP has called for a repeal of Obamacare and this is what they come up with to replace it? This is a fucking embarrassment.

By Friday, the bill was pulled from the House floor for the final time. With 215 GOP votes needed to pass, NBC tallied 34 Republicans who were still a “nay” vote, killing Trumpcare.

Great negotiating skills, Mr. President.

Similar to his reaction to the Yemen raid which resulted in the death of a U.S. Navy SEAL, Trump once again rejected President Truman’s “the buck stops here” philosophy.

Who did he blame for his first major legislative failure? It depends on which day you ask.

“We had no Democrat support. We had no votes from the Democrats. They weren’t going to give us a single vote,” Trump said from the Oval Office on Friday.

Technically, you didn’t get a GOP vote either since you pulled the bill from the floor.

Why would they (or anyone) ever support this legislation?

The reality is, the Democrats were never invited to be a part of the process. President Trump never reached out the Democratic Party to discuss the bill.

In contrast, President Obama met with Republicans in the White House in 2009 to discuss what would become Obamacare. In February 2010, President Obama met with the entire Republican House caucus at a GOP retreat in Baltimore to discuss the legislation.

One month later, the House would pass the Affordable Care Act without a single GOP vote… making Obama a better deal maker than Trump.

“I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best we can do, politically speaking, is let Obamacare explode. It is exploding right now,” Trump continued.  Jesus, this guy actually means “imploding.”  Either way, he’s wrong.

Hidden in the first CBO report on Trumpcare is the finding that the Obamacare market is “stable.”

Donald Trump

Credit: Richard Drew

Via Twitter on Saturday, Trump encouraged Americans to watch Judge Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News broadcast.

“Paul Ryan needs to step down as Speaker of the House,” Pirro told her audience in her show opening.

“Folks I want to be clear: this is not on President Trump,” Pirro continued. “No one expected a businessman to completely understand the nuances, the complicated ins-and-outs of Washington and its legislative process.”

Pirro blames Ryan for a disaster the President fully endorsed while simultaneously admitting Trump is not qualified for the position of commander-in-chief.

On Sunday, Trump found a different culprit:

Sick burn.

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump referred to Obamacare as a “total disaster.”

Actually, we just dodged one.

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