There's an awful lot of awful in Trumpcare 3.0, the latest iteration congressional Republicans have coughed up to make our healthcare system even worse than it was before the Affordable Care Act. It retains all of the Medicaid cuts that were already in the bill—cuts that are even deeper than the House Republicans passed. It contains the basic elements of a disastrous proposal from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
The plans that have to offer decent coverage to anyone who wants it, no matter their health care history, will become a magnet for the old and the sick or the soon-to-be-sick, as they can’t afford, or perhaps can’t even buy, the other plans. That will drive premiums in those plans up, pulling younger, healthier people into the non-compliant plans.
The Senate bill thinks it has a fix: a roughly $200 billion fund to offset the costs of sick enrollees. So, in short, what the GOP bill attempts to do is to rebrand high-risk pools as Obamacare plans and make them subsidized dumping grounds for the sick and the old, while everyone else buys insurance in a basically unregulated market.
This is a very bad idea for anyone who is sick, has been sick, or is likely to get sick.
That money to fix it, though? It's not actual additional money. It's McConnell double-dipping, and "takes money already appropriated in the bill for other needs and says it can be used for these payments to insurers under the Cruz Amendment." Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) figured that out. Let's see if any other Republicans do.
That's not the only part of the Cruz amendment that sucks, though. The people who buy those crappy plans Cruz would allow would be stuck in them—if they get sick and need to trade up for a plan that would actually take care of them, they would have to wait six months, as if they hadn't had any coverage to begin with. Oh, and congress would be exempt from all this—they'll still have the essential health benefits they're taking away from their constituents.
And it destroys Medicaid. And it still takes funding away from Planned Parenthood. Sure, it throws a little bit of money to fighting the opioid epidemic, but not enough to make up for the Medicaid cuts. Everything that the would-be Republican moderates have been holding out for has been rejected, with McConnell deciding to go hard right to get Ted Cruz under the assumption that he can force the moderates to cave.
They've got a weekend off, some of them coming home even though they might not be out in public, before returning for a vote McConnell insists will happen next week. Now's the time to hammer all those Republicans—Jerry Moran (KS), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Dean Heller (NV), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Rob Portman (OH), Bill Cassidy (LA)—who have complained about how bad the bill is for their states because of Medicaid cuts. Keep calling.
Time to jam the phone lines--Republicans still want to pass Trumpcare! Even if you called before, call your Senator at (202) 224-3121. Tell them Trumpcare is SICK, MEAN and CRUEL. Then, tell us how it went.
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