Friday, July 14, 2017

Senate GOP Made Trumpcare Even Worse Than Before

(Cartoon image is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

(This capsule of changes to Senate version of Trumpcare is from NBC News.)

The first version of Trumpcare (passed by the House of Representatives) was awful. It would toss 23 million people off the health insurance rolls, while giving huge tax cuts to the rich. The Republicans in the Senate panned it, and said they would do much better. Their leadership went behind closed doors and wrote their version of Trumpcare in secret. Oddly, it looked a whole lot like the House version -- throwing 22 million people off the health insurance rolls, and giving massive tax cuts to the rich.

The bill was universally panned by doctors, hospitals, the AARP, and nearly everyone else -- and couldn't get the 50 votes needed to even bring it to the Senate floor for a vote. Republican Senate leaders didn't give up though. They said they would make it "better", and went behind closed doors for another secret session. Yesterday, they revealed the latest version of Trumpcare -- and it's just as ugly as its predecessors.

The changes they made to make the bill more palatable to GOP's senators are shown above. But the main thing is that while they left a few of the taxes in, they still made sure the huge cuts to Medicaid would be made -- throwing millions of Americans who can't afford private insurance off Medicaid rolls. This third version of Trumpcare is just as hardhearted and mean-spirited at the two previous versions.

In fact, it may actually be worse. That's because they included a provision championed by Texas teabagger Ted Cruz. That provision would allow people to buy cheaper insurance policies that cover very little. Those policies would be OK -- until someone in the family got a serious illness (and that will happen to many silly enough to buy these fake policies). Those people will be hit with enormous medical bills -- bills their "insurance" will not pay. Many of them will go bankrupt trying to pay those bills.

Obamacare had significantly cut the number of individual bankruptcies each year by requiring insurance policies to have a minimum level of benefits. By allowing insurance companies to again sell these fake policies, bankruptcies will start to rise again (since most individual bankruptcies are due to an inability to pay medical bills).

This newest version of Trumpcare is a very bad bill. We must hope it doesn't get through the Senate. It would be disastrous to health care in this country if it does -- and sadly, most Republicans don't seem to care.

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