Friday, March 24, 2017

GOP Delays The Vote - Still Fighting Among Themselves

(Cartoon image is by Daryl Cagle at

The Republican House leadership said there would be a vote on their "repeal and replace" plan for health care on Thursday. Both Speaker Ryan and Donald Trump said they had the votes to pass that horrible plan. They were lying. Thursday rolled around and they blinked. After meeting after meeting was held, they realized that the plan could not pass.

This should not really surprise anyone. For the last seven years the Republicans have promised to come up with a plan to replace Obamacare -- and no plan was ever put forward that congressional Republicans could agree on. This did not matter much when President Obama was in office, because he would have vetoed it anyway. But now they control both Congress and the White House. Now they have no excuse for not delivering on seven years of promises (and repeated campaign promises by Trump).

Why can't they agree on a health care plan? Because they really don't want a plan to begin with. They don't believe health care is a right of all citizens. They consider it to be a product to be sold to those who can afford it -- and if you can't afford it, then you get to die. They call that freedom. I call it BS. Isn't the most important right of all the right to life?

Understand that the infighting going on between Republicans is not between those who would deny the right to life and those who would protect it. Both sides would deny it. One side (the teabaggers in safe districts) don't want to do anything at all. They were happy with the pre-Obamacare broken system, and wish to return to that. They want a repeal without a replacement.

The other side is only slightly better. They fear they'll lose their jobs if they take insurance away from millions, so they support a bad plan that would slightly mitigate that. It would still leave many millions without insurance, but they could claim they tried.

Neither side cares about ordinary Americans, and are perfectly willing to sentence thousands to death each year for lack of being able to afford expensive private insurance or restrictive government Medicaid. What they do care about is cutting taxes for their rich friends and corporations -- and that is really what the "repeal and replace" is all about.

The chart below (from the Urban Institute) shows who would benefit from the Republican plan and who would be hurt. Note that those who make over $75,000 a year would benefit from the plan. The plan would be fairly neutral for those making between $50,000 and $75,000 a year. But the people making less than $50,000 a year (more than half of the population) would be hurt by the bill. They would pay more, and probably receive much less.

The Republican leadership in the House (and Trump) are now promising a vote on Friday. Will the plan pass? I still think it has no better than a 50-50 chance to pass -- and maybe less. Obamacare may survive in spite of Republican promises to repeal it -- and that's a good thing.

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