Our pathological liar of a president spent several days lying about what is in the Zombie “Trumpcare” bill, i.e., that preexisting conditions are covered, “it’s in the bill.” No, they are not. Trump keeps giving interviews about a health bill that doesn’t exist.
The fact that preexisting conditions are not covered in the Zombie “Trumpcare” bill is the reason why influential Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the former chairman and current member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he opposes the House GOP plan because it “torpedoes” safeguards for people with preexisting conditions. GOP health-care push faces new obstacles as concerns about preexisting conditions grow:
Upton, a former chairman and current member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he opposes the House GOP plan because it “torpedoes” safeguards for people with preexisting conditions.
“I told the leadership I cannot support the bill with this provision in it,” Upton said. “I don’t know how it all will play out, but I know there are a good number of us that have raised real red flags.”
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Upton’s comments came a day after Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), a longtime opponent of the ACA, voiced similar concerns as he came out against the latest plan. On Tuesday, Long said the preexisting-condition provision was the sole reason for his opposition.
Here are two influential GOP congressmen who have the courage of their convictions to take a stand against the lies of their president and to oppose this terrible Zombie “Trumpcare” bill.
So where does our “woman warrior” and “lion“congresswoman Martha McSally stand on the Zombie “Trumpcare” bill?
She tells her constituents that it’s none of their goddamned business, “I’m not sharing my position” on the bill.
Jim Nintzel reports, McSally Declines To Take a Stand on Zombie Trumpcare:
[I]f you’re wondering how Southern Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally (R-AZ 02) is voting, don’t expect to find out. It turns out her position on the latest version of the legislation is a big secret.
Earlier today, The Hill‘s Cristina Marcos tweeted that McSally said “I’m not publicly sharing my position” when asked how she’d vote on the revised American Health Care Act.
Asked by the Weekly is McSally is supporting the legislation, McSally spokesperson Kelly Schibi said today via email:
The status quo is not an option, especially for Arizona where the ACA has left counties with one choice for coverage. Rep. McSally is deeply concerned that the most vulnerable in our communities receive care, which is why she has taken the lead in negotiating on their behalf. She has secured $60 billion in Medicaid for the elderly and disabled, and $90 billion for tax credits for individuals aged 50 to 64. She has also won an additional $15 billion for mothers and their newborns, and for those who struggle with mental health disorders and substance abuse. As her track record shows, she brings a constructive voice to the legislative process on behalf of all of her constituents for improved health care for Arizona.
McSally’s silence on her position on latest version of the GOP’s legislation is a big contrast to where she was on the version that never made it to vote last month. On the day before the legislation was pulled just before it was supposed to go up for a vote, McSally went all in on that legislation, taking credit for adding $15 billion to help with the costs of providing maternity care coverage as well as treatment for mental illness and drug addiction. However, those are conditions that insurance companies must now cover under the existing Affordable Care Act, so the additional funding wouldn’t have been needed if McSally weren’t supporting legislation that strips those essential health benefits from the law.
The latest version of the American Health Care Act appears to violate one of McSally’s key promises to voters in the highly competitive Congressional District 2: It does not keep intact protections for people with preexisting conditions.
To provide a bit of background: The lightning strike that jolted zombie healthcare back to its feet was an amendment from Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), who brought back on board many of the conservative Freedom Caucus members who torpedoed the earlier effort. The Freedom Caucus members weren’t satisfied with a bill that, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates, led to 24 million Americans being uninsured (including many of those low-income citizens covered by the Medicaid expansion) and huge jumps in insurance costs for seniors. They balked at several provisions in the original repeal-and-replace legislation, such as protecting people with preexisting conditions from discrimination and requiring that the essential health benefits—such as maternity care and mental-health treatment—be covered. That legislation had dropped in the polls to 17 percent approval before House lawmakers gave up on passing it.
Under the new version of the legislation, states would be able to obtain a waiver to get rid of those protections for consumers as long as they jumped through a few hoops, such as setting up a “high-risk pool” to dump people with pre-existing conditions—cancer survivors, diabetics, and the like. (Arizona never actually implemented a high-risk pool before the Affordable Care Act passed, but it’s hard to believe the current Legislature would be willing to fork over the funding that a high-risk pool would require, although it’s easy to see state lawmakers seeking a waiver anyhow.)
Or, as Kevin Griffis, a former Obama administration Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and current vice president for communications of Planned Parenthood Federation of America puts it, GOP lawmakers took “a bad bill and figured out how to make it worse.”
The American Medical Association, among many other groups, is urging lawmakers to oppose the AHCA.
McSally’s silence on the legislation isn’t all that surprising; she had typically sidestepped controversial issues throughout her career. Stepping out on the issue last time earned her a number of negative attack ads, so she has evidently concluded it’s politically smart to keep her head down. After all, if the votes aren’t there this week before lawmakers recess, why stick her neck out?
But her reluctance to take a position could mean that she’s seen polling that similar to a late April Public Policy Polling survey that was released today. The survey of 588 voters in McSally’s Congressional District 2 shows that the Affordable Care Act—aka Obamacare—is growing more popular. The poll showed that 54 percent of those surveyed supported the ACA, vs. 36 percent who did not and 10 percent who were undecided. McSally’s preferred alternative, the American Health Care Act, wasn’t nearly as possible: Only 25 percent of voters supported that, while 59 percent opposed it and 16 percent weren’t sure what they thought.
So McSally’s position is diametrically opposed to that of her constituents in CD 2. She does not represent their interests, she is a Trumpster who stands by her man Donald Trump 100% of the time (to date).
Matt O’brien of the Washington Post explains The simple reason Republicans are stuck with Obamacare:
Republicans have settled on a bold, new strategy for not replacing Obamacare. They’re making the moderates in their caucus kill their plan instead of the ultra-conservatives.
And it’s working!
Now this plan might seem strange when Republicans have spent the last seven years acting like Obamacare was the worst thing to happen to the country since the British burned down the White House in 1814. But it’s a little less so if you listen to what their individual members are actually saying.
Some Republicans, you see, are philosophically opposed to the very idea of Obamacare giving health insurance to the poor and sick, while others are only politically opposed to the idea of a president named Obama doing so. If anything, they think that Obamacare doesn’t go far enough to keep deductibles down. Which, as I’ve said before, means that the GOP is stuck in an old Woody Allen joke: It thinks the problem with Obamacare, metaphorically speaking, is that the food is terrible and the portions are too small. Good luck putting those together.
Not that it’s stopped Republicans from trying. The first version of their plan was just a tax cut masquerading as a health-care proposal that still somehow managed to alienate both the center and right wing of their party. It would have slashed taxes by $1 trillion over a decade and paid for that by chopping $839 billion off of Medicaid and $300 billion off of Obamacare’s subsidies, which themselves would have been reconfigured to help the young and affluent at the expense of the old and poor. And it had no chance of passing. That’s because the 24 million people the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates would have lost coverage as a result were enough to scare off GOP moderates, and the fact that it would have kept all of Obamacare’s protections for the sick in place was enough to tick off the far-right House Freedom Caucus. They think the best way to lower premiums for healthy people is to increase them for sick people.
So they went back to the drawing board. The second edition of their plan was — stop me if you’ve heard this before — just a tax cut masquerading as a health-care proposal that still somehow managed to alienate both the center and right wing of their party. The only difference from before is that it would have allowed insurance companies to sell plans that didn’t cover things like mental health, maternity care, prescription drugs and hospitalizations. This still wasn’t enough to get the House Freedom Caucus on board, though, because letting insurance companies sell plans that didn’t cover these “essential benefits” without letting them discriminate against the sick would mean that only the sick would want those benefits — making them unaffordable for everybody.
So they got even more familiar with the drawing board. The latest iteration of their plan is just a tax cut masquerading as a health-care proposal — but one that has managed to alienate just the center and not the right wing of the party. Finally, a breakthrough. They were able to do this while keeping the same basic framework — the one that would cost 24 million people their coverage — by saying that states could now opt out of all of Obamacare’s regulations. Insurance companies would once again be allowed to make plans unaffordable for the sick and unusable for the rest. And that might have the added bonus, as the Brookings Institution’s Matthew Fielder points out, of undermining protections against catastrophic costs in not only the individual market but also the employer-based one. This is the liberty the House Freedom Caucus wants.
It’s no surprise, then, that moderate Republicans who didn’t like this bill when it “only” took health insurance away from the old and poor don’t like it any more now that it would take health insurance away from the sick as well. Enough of them are already against it that it almost certainly won’t pass. Which brings us to the GOP’s two fundamental laws of health care. The first is that Republicans can’t get the far right’s support without losing the center right’s — and vice versa — so that no matter what they do, they can’t pass a bill. And the second is that the only Obamacare replacement GOP moderates would support is, yes, Obamacare. If you want people with preexisting conditions to be able to get covered — and they do now — then you either have to have the government do so directly or use a combination of carrots and sticks in the form of subsidies and mandates to get the private sector to. There’s no conservative alternative to Obamacare, in other words, because Obamacare is the conservative alternative.
That’s why it’s only a matter of time until Republicans settle on an even bolder and newer strategy for not replacing Obamacare: admitting that, for many of them, the only real problem with the law was its name.
So all we have to do to make fixes to “Obamacare” instead of repeal it is to play to the conceit of our egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief and change its name to “Trumpcare”? President Obama himself said he is OK with this. Obama says he’s fine with changing ‘ObamaCare’ to ‘TrumpCare’.