Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Trumpcare vs. Obamacare: Apocalypse Foretold

Not to beat a dead horse, but the CBO analysis of the impact of the GOP's "Trumpcare" proposal underscores the reality that today's GOP cares nothing about the majority of Americans.  Everything that the GOP does is aimed at one thing: tax cuts for the wealthy.  They claim to want to cut the deficit, but there's an easy solution to that issue: increase taxes on the obscenely wealthy.  Sadly, as long as the GOP controls the Congress and the White House, this will never happen. Worse yet, the GOP lead by Paul Ryan is out to gut Social Security and Medicare.  In short, the GOP goal is to destroy the social safety net and make wealth disparity even worse than it all ready is - the USA is now much like the banana republics of the 1950's where the masses will suffer while the wealthy live even more opulently.  A column in the New York Times looks at this reality that anyone sentient and not blinded by Fox News and other fake news sites should have seen coming.  The surprise is that anyone is surprised by the CBO's projections.  Here are column excerpts:
The Congressional Budget Office report on Trumpcare is out, and it’s devastating: 14 million people losing insurance in the first year, 24 million over time, with premiums soaring for older, lower-income Americans — in many cases, the very people who went strongly for President Trump. The C.B.O. thinks it would reduce the deficit, but only marginally, around $30 billion a year in a $19 trillion economy.
Let me offer one assertion and ask two questions.
The assertion is that something like this was to be expected. The C.B.O. came in even worse on coverage than most predicted, but it was obvious that the news would be terrible because that’s what the logic of the situation told us. Obamacare imposes a mandate to induce healthy people to sign up, offers means-tested subsidies to make insurance affordable and expands Medicaid to take care of people with really low incomes. Trumpcare eliminates the mandate, slashes subsidies overall and redirects them to those who don’t need them and sharply cuts Medicaid. Of course that leads to a huge drop in coverage.
Republican claims that they could do much better even while slashing funding so they could cut taxes on the rich were always obvious nonsense.
Now my questions: First, can this legislation still go through? I have learned never to underestimate the cravenness of Republican “moderates,” who may posture to the center but almost always cave to the hard right when it matters. But even so, it’s hard to imagine this act of cruelty getting 50 senators.
Second, what were Republican leaders thinking? Something like this C.B.O. score was a foregone conclusion; would it really have mattered much if it were 15 million losing insurance, not 24 million? How was this supposed to work out politically?
Again, I wouldn’t count out the possibility that this law will be rammed through regardless, with budget analyses relegated to the category of fake news. Democrats might even want to hope that this happens, so that there is no question about who to blame if insurance collapses. But the lemming-like way Republicans rushed into this disaster is still amazing.

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