After legislative defeat, GOP should stick with Obamacare

March 28, 2017 — by Ryan Kim

After a nerve-wracking few months into the new administration, President Trump and the Republican Party seemed to be grasping at straws as they proposed possibly the most absurd idea of the new administration. Thankfully, facing certain defeat in the House, the bill was withdrawn on March 24.

The American Health Care Act planned to get rid of Obamacare’s income-based insurance tax credits, and replace the system with a flat tax credit based on age. This system would have created many hardships for lower-income and older Americans.

Ultimately, such a change would have provided less health care to fewer Americans. Although President Trump said in an interview with the Washington Post on Jan. 15 that the plan would provide “insurance for everybody,” it actually removes 24 million citizens by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office, mostly consisting of the poor and disabled, from affordable insurance because of Medicaid reductions.

There’s a reason the plan was “dead on arrival,” as Fox News called it; it had little to no support from key players in the health industry. The American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association and AARP all disavowed it. Even conservatives hated it: Ultra-conservatives argued that it is too similar to the Affordable Care Act, while more moderate Republicans worried about the economic stability for many citizens in their respective states.

The only people who would have reaped the benefits are the rich, who would get a huge tax cut while the poor would have paid more for their health insurance or do without. In particular, the top one percent of Americans would get $33,000 in tax cuts, while the top 0.1 percent receive up to $197,000. This was the plan all along: steal from the poor and give to the rich.

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan recently said that the plan would “defederalize an entitlement, block grant it back to the states and cap its growth rate,” which essentially means huge Medicaid federal funding cuts. The bill would have overburdened states to fund their own Medicaid programs, leading millions more low-income Americans to lose their insurance.

Perhaps the greatest irony of the whole debacle is that the main victims of the new plan would have been the fervent Trump-supporters who pushed Trump to the presidency. The plan did not even reflect Trump’s policies of transparency in pricing or competition across state lines.

According to the New York Times, diehard voters who supported Trump by a 59 percent to 36 percent margin would have lost at least $5,000 in tax credits.

Even congressional Republicans and Trump himself eventually acknowledged the plan’s problems.

The scrapping of the Republican plan is one of the first huge legislative defeats for the Trump administration and shows that most Americans know a bad law when they see it.

 

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