Monday, January 09, 2017

Obamacare Repeal Costs: 3 Million Jobs; $1.5 Trillion in State Revenues

The hypocrisy of Congressional Republicans - and, of course, Donald Trump, a/k/a Der Fuhrer, is stunning when it comes to the plan to repeal Obamacare which is motivated by two things: (i) to allow large tax cuts to the wealthy, and (ii) to undo the legacy of America's first black president in order to pander to the racists and white supremacists who now dominate the Republican Party base. Not only will repeal without a concurrent replacement deprive 20+ million Americans of health care coverage, but it will also result in lost jobs and blows to state revenues.  The true GOP agenda likewise shows the hypocrisy of Republican whining over deficits.  Economist Paul Krugman sums this up well:
Not long ago prominent Republicans like Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, liked to warn in apocalyptic terms about the dangers of budget deficits, declaring that a Greek-style crisis was just around the corner. But now, suddenly, those very same politicians are perfectly happy with the prospect of deficits swollen by tax cuts; the budget resolution they’re considering would, according to their own estimates, add $9 trillion in debt over the next decade. Hey, no problem.
This sudden turnaround comes as a huge shock to absolutely nobody — at least nobody with any sense. All that posturing about the deficit was obvious flimflam, whose purpose was to hobble a Democratic president, and it was completely predictable that the pretense of being fiscally responsible would be dropped as soon as the G.O.P. regained the White House.
But back to the lost jobs and financial hit that repeal of Obamacare will unleash.  A piece at CNBC looks at the economic impact that will likely disproportionately hit the working class cretins whites who voted for Trump, especially in rural areas.  Here are article highlights:
Spending less by getting rid of Obamacare could end up costing a whole lot more.
Up to 3 million jobs in the health sector and other areas would be lost if certain key provisions of the Affordable Care Act are repealed by Congress, a new report said Thursday.
At the same time, ending those provisions could lead to a whopping $1.5 trillion reduction in gross state product from 2019 through 2023, according to the study.
"Repealing key parts of the ACA could trigger massive job losses and a slump in consumer and business spending that would affect all sectors of state economies," said Leighton Ku, director of the Center for Health Policy Research and professor at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.
Ku is the lead author of the report, which was issued by the Milken Institute and the Commonwealth Fund.
The report comes as President-elect Donald Trump and the new Congress are moving toward repealing parts of the ACA through the budget reconciliation process.
"The immediate and most visible effect of ACA repeal would be the loss of coverage and access to care for millions of people who have gained insurance because of the law," said Sara Collins, vice president for health-care coverage and access at the Commonwealth Fund.
"This study points to even larger potential economic effects that would be detrimental to the health and well-being of millions more," Collins said.
The estimate of job and state product losses are based on a scenario in which Congress defunds federal subsidies that most Obamacare customers receive to help lower their monthly insurance premium costs, and also gets rid of funding to cover adults who became newly eligible for Medicaid under the ACA.
Repealing both provisions would save the federal government $140 billion in health-care spending, the report found. And as that funding spigot dried up, it would lead to job losses and a drop in gross state product, the report said.
The study notes that most of the federal funding for Obamacare flows to hospitals, health clinics, pharmacies and other medical providers, who in turn hire and pay staff and purchase goods and services.

A column in the Washington Post looks further at the disingenuousness of Trump and Congressional Republicans:
Let’s try to get this straight. Donald Trump campaigned as the champion of lower-paid working people who deserve better than they have. Republicans have spent the Obama presidency complaining about high deficits and promising to cut them.
And whenever liberals put forward major reforms, conservatives say: No, no, you can’t make radical changes on the basis of narrow partisan majorities. Let’s take it slow and be very careful. They love to cite Thomas Jefferson’s dictum, “Great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities.”
In moving with reckless speed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are violating every one of these supposed principles. That’s because the principle that really matters to them is the one they try to shroud behind happy talk about efficiency and compassion: They want to spend a whole lot less money helping Americans get health coverage.
This needs to be made very clear as their throw-people-over-the-side juggernaut rolls forward. Any vote to repeal Obamacare before there is a comprehensive alternative on the table that all can study, understand and debate is a vote to deprive many of their health insurance. It is a vote to make the lives of millions of Americans demonstrably worse.
And a bunch of politicians who regularly accuse their progressive opponents of being “out of touch” with the “real America” need to be exposed for what they are: a comfortable, affluent and privileged coterie that does not need to spend a single second worrying about whether their kids can see a doctor or whether they will get the care they need if a health disaster strikes.
That also means you, Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. In Tennessee, 526,000 more people would be uninsured. (Corker, it should be said, acknowledged on Friday that “repeal and replacement should take place simultaneously.”) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is threatening to hike the uninsured figure in Kentucky by 200 percent, or 486,000 people.
In Arizona, Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, the number without coverage would rise by 709,000. In West Virginia, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, the ranks of the uninsured would go up by 208 percent, more than twice the national average, from 88,000 if the ACA were left in place to 272,000.
Oh, yes, and as for the deficit, the very bill McConnell is putting forward would swell it to $1 trillion — that’s with a “tr” — by the end of the decade. This is quite an achievement. In one vote, the Republican Congress would deprive millions of lower-income Americans of their health care while saddling the next generation with a whole new debt load. 
[W]hat the nation needs most right now are Republicans willing to face up to how devious and manipulative this process is and how damaging their votes could be to some of their most faithful supporters. These GOP loyalists believed them when they promised to replace Obamacare.

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