Wait for the Republicans to cave on the health care vote

The Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell has released his version of the health care reform bill and it has as its main feature a massive transfer of wealth to the rich while cutting health service to the poor. The main target seems to be Medicaid, the government-run system that serves the poor. Steven Rosenfeld summarizes the main features.

Soon after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released his Obamacare repeal legislation Thursday, the verdict by health policy experts was the Senate GOP bill was a disaster like the House-passed bill. Then they started discovering its hidden features.

“The ACA is not repealed,” tweeted Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicaid and Medicare for the Obama administration. “Health care for poor people, kids, the disability community and seniors is. The ACA income based tax credits stay—due to Senate rules. They just get bulldozed. More accurately, the people receiving the help do.”

That’s right, after years of railing against Obamacare, McConnell’s bill doesn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act. Instead it damages private insurance markets, seriously dismantles state-run Medicaid, leaves millions of women and children and vets without care, and further roils the private sector as business and personal healthcare costs will rise—as what is covered by insurers will shrink.

Children’s health care experts have given their reactions to the cuts in Medicaid.

For more than 50 years, Medicaid has been a critical source of health coverage for children in America. Nearly half of all Medicaid enrollees are children and Medicaid covers half of all births in the United States. Medicaid is essential to the health of over 37 million of American children and pregnant women.

Converting Medicaid into a per capita cap funding structure would dismantle critical protections and access to care for all enrollees. Over time, capping Medicaid would likely force states to ration care, reduce eligibility levels, reduce benefits for children, or reduce provider reimbursement rates even further—all of which will result in diminished access to care for children and pregnant women.

Bernie Sanders also unloads on the bill.

“The purpose of this whole legislation of raising premiums for older workers, of defunding Planned Parenthood, denying 2.5 million women the choice of doctors [is] to provide $500 billion in tax breaks for the top 2 percent, for the insurance companies, for the drug companies and other major corporations,” Sanders said.

“This is barbaric,” he hammered. “This is what oligarchy is all about.”

Sanders dubbed the bill “the most anti-working class legislation” he’d ever seen, a cruel twist given Donald Trump’s populist rhetoric on the campaign trail.

“I don’t care what your political view is. I don’t think there are many Americans who think that we [should] give unbelievably large tax breaks to billionaires and then tell disabled kids or people who are in nursing homes today because of Medicaid that we’re going to punish them,” Sanders told Cooper. “Man, that is not what this country is supposed to be about.”

The media will now start playing its favorite game and rather than focusing repeatedly on the actual provisions, will endlessly speculate on how many Republican senators might oppose the bill because such discussions are so much easier since they involve mindless bloviating. The Republicans currently have 52 senators and thus can afford to have at most two people defect, since a 50-50 tie will mean that vice-president Mike Pence will cast the deciding vote.

We can end that suspense right now. There will be no Republican defections. Republicans have an authoritarian mindset which means that they will follow the dictates of their leaders, in this case Donald trump and McConnell. Oh sure, there will be some who will grumble for the benefit of the media because that is a surefire way of getting media attention and numerous interviews, which is what they crave. But then after some minor tweaks here and there to the bill, they will meekly go along and vote as their party demands. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are the real experts at playing this game.

So I will not follow the breathless speculation because it means nothing. The Republicans will pass something and all we can be sure of is that it will be bad.

Here’s Seth Meyers on the bill.


  1. deepak shetty says

    We can end that suspense right now. There will be no Republican defections.

    I predict there will be 2. I would guess one of the more moderate one and probably Paul.

  2. Raucous Indignation says

    No more than two, and they’ll be up for reelection in 2018 in blue leaning states.

  3. busterggi says

    Ein reich ein volk ein führer -- it sounds so much better in original Republican.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *