Monday, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with the current House Republican plan will result in 14 million Americans losing insurance coverage this year. From there, the numbers just get worse. The estimate projects 21 million Americans will lack insurance in 2020, and 24 million will go without in 2026.
The new House Republican health plan, titled the American Health Care Act, is really just a tax bill. Among other things, it eliminates tax penalties on people who chose not to purchase insurance. It also eliminates taxes currently used to pay for health care subsidies. These cuts are essentially a ten year $600 billion tax cut benefiting the wealthiest Americans.
Mr. Trump campaigned against the Affordable Care Act in 2016. He made a promise saying those who currently had insurance wouldn’t lose it. Mr. Trump made a lot of bullshit promises but, when it comes to health care, people need results. And so far the results are far from pretty.
All politics aside, voting to toss 14 million disadvantaged people off insurance is never good policy. And doing so while dishing out tax breaks for America’s wealthiest is akin to political suicide. I don’t care how favorable 2018 looks for Republicans, the American Health Care Act will obliterate any advantages.
In it’s current form, the American Health Care Act, stands little chance of passing in the Senate. Republicans will eventually pass something. I predict some form of Obamacare-Lite relying on tax write offs that still leave million under-insured. The numbers will be low enough to claim victory and assuage upper-middle class guilt, but will still give huge tax breaks to the ultra-rich and guarantees healthy bottom lines for insurance companies.
Still, the real issue being ignored is governance. Aside from tax cuts, repealing abortion, and deciding where people pee, Republicans believe the free market sorts everything out. They believe these markets yield only positive results, which is why they despise the social welfare system. And to some extent, they are right.
Capitalism/the free market does reward winners. These market winners get housing, healthcare, and excellent educational opportunities. Markets winners also enjoy access to legislators, who they contribute to/pay to advocate for them. Market winners have laws enacted that ensure they (and their children) remain winners.
And the losers get the leftovers.