The Republicans Unveil Their Obamacare Replacement Plan, and It Is Utter Garbage

Last night, House Republicans unveiled their Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) replacement plan, the text of which can be read here and here (PDF).

They also issued a summary document (PDF), titled "House Republicans Deliver on President Trump's Health Care Promise," which right from the start is a lie, because Trump's healthcare promise was "I am going to take care of everybody" and "The government's gonna pay for it."

Instead, the Republicans have delivered a devastatingly horrendous plan that relies on insufficient tax credits, health savings accounts, block grants to Medicaid, and promises that can't be kept without mandated coverage, e.g. no exclusion for preexisting conditions.

And instead of mandating coverage (which is what funds coverage for the people who need it the most), they are proposing an incredible 30% surcharge on premiums for a year on "anyone who goes without health coverage for two months or more." So, instead of incentivizing purchasing health insurance, they're proposing a steep punishment for anyone who doesn't/can't purchase it.

Meanwhile, as Judd Legum notes, Republicans "released their Obamacare replacement without a CBO score which tells you: 1. How much the plan costs, 2. How many people would be covered." Because their plan is garbage, and they know it. They "delayed an earlier roll out because the CBO score was so bad. Instead of improving the bill, they just released it without a score."

They have zero facts on their side. They absolutely cannot promise that their plan will cover more people or control costs better than the Affordable Care Act. (Because it won't.) All they have is lies about the Affordable Care Act, which Trump continued to tell as he celebrated the replacement rollout this morning on Twitter.

But perhaps nothing more pointedly reveals how despicable this healthcare plan is, and how cruel the instincts behind it, than this comment from Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz on CNN's New Day this morning:

Anchor Alisyn Camerota: But access for lower income Americans doesn't equal coverage.

Chaffetz: Well, we're getting rid of the individual mandate. We're getting rid of those things that people said that they don't want. And you know what? Americans have choices. And they've gotta make a choice. And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they wanna go spend hundreds of dollars of that, maybe they should invest it in their own healthcare. They've gotta make those decisions themselves.
We already knew that Republicans don't regard healthcare as a right, but Chaffetz confirms that in the bluntest of ways. Healthcare is something in which people need to invest.

The thing is, investing is something that only people with discretionary (excess) income can afford to do. When people with limited income make choices about how to spend their money, it isn't between "that new iPhone" and the hot new tech IPO; it's between this necessary thing and that necessary thing.

And, not for nothing, but the cost of a new iPhone won't cover a year's worth of healthcare. Someone has to be spending a whole lot of money on things they don't need in order to cover healthcare costs under the GOP's plan. And, you know, sometimes people actually need a new cellphone, and the difference in cost between an iPhone and the cheapest smartphone is even less money to "invest."

Once again, Republican policy is predicated on this erroneous notion that everyone has enough money, if only they'd just spend it on the "right" things. That the only real problem is bad individual choices. And that systemic problems like the federal minimum wage not being anything close to a liveable wage (thanks to Republicans) are somehow irrelevant.

They are not irrelevant.

So now we come to the resistance. We've got to resist this legislative nightmare with everything we've got. There are already four Republican Senators who have taken issue with one part of the plan (the unwinding of the Medicare expansion), so if Rob Portman (Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), Cory Gardner (Colorado), or Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) is your senator, press them hard to reject this proposal. And if you've got a different Republican Senator, raise their concern with your senator.

Republicans and Democrats need to hear our objections to this horrendous plan. And they need to know that if they cast a vote for it, they'll lose our votes in the next election.

It is not hyperbole to say this is a matter of life and death. Republicans don't care about people's lives, but they do care about votes. Time to make a whole lot of noise.

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