So, after seven years of yelling and screaming that they would “repeal and replace Obamacare,” Republicans released an Affordable Health Care Act “replacement” plan amid great fanfare yesterday.
Ol’ Hobbs’s first analysis: This sure does look a whole lot like Obamacare in many ways and as I suspected, Repubs are planning to toss in a few age-old conservative concepts (tax credits) while keeping much of what already is in place fully intact. Indeed, “Trumpcare,” if you will, would be almost as plagiarized as Mrs. Melania Trump’s Republican Convention Speech that heavily “borrowed” from former First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech eight years earlier.
A quick run down of the Republican proposal:
*The plan would allow children to remain on their parents coverage until age 26 (like Obamacare).
*The plan keeps the ban against insurance companies denying people with preexisting illnesses and injuries (like Obamacare).
*The plan would restrict funding to Planned Parenthood. Curiously enough, 45 suggested yesterday that federal funding to PP could remain if the organization stopped performing abortions.
*The plan would effectively eliminate the individual mandate.
*The plan keeps the Medicaid expansion program for lower income Americans (like Obamacare but nota bene: This was a HUGE concession by conservatives who for the past seven years have vowed an immediate cancellation of the Medicaid expansion due to constant griping and moaning from Republican governors about the lack of cost effectiveness).
Where “Trumpcare” will create a huge fight ahead, however, lies with proposals to cap the aforementioned Medicaid expansion in the years to come. By 2020, the current proposal, if passed and signed into law by 45, would change Medicaid from allowing anyone who qualifies economically to enroll, to a per capita cap on funding to the individual states based on enrollment figures as of the date of the rollback. As of now, the government pays 90 percent of costs for Medicaid recipients in the 31 states and DC that expanded Medicaid per Obamacare. As such, Trumpcare would still pay for those already enrolled, but would restrict new enrollees, a move that could create a large vacuum of uninsured poor people within a decade. For now, in the 19 states that never expanded Medicaid and presumably in those states that did, Republicans are suggesting that federal funds would be well spent to bolster hospitals and clinics that service the poor, a move that, again, would be far less comprehensive than what currently is allowable per Obamacare.
Because many millions of poor Americans—-mostly white working and abject poor if I might add—will be hurt, I suspect that Trumpcare will be dead on arrival in the Senate where the 52 Republican majority is in peril. Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul has already called the GOP plan “Obamacare lite,” while Republican Senators Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Capito of West Virginia, Corey Gardner of Colorado and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have already forwarded a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that they oppose the Medicaid proposals and fear that the same does not “provide stability for families” or “the necessary flexibility for the states.”
So in the end analysis, the Trumpcare plan seems to be much ado about nothing, or simply put, an effort to appease right wing media personalities who continue to rail against the “Obama” part more than the “care.” Ultimately, I suspect that Obamacare will remain intact and that the defeat of Trumpcare in the Senate will be yet another major blow to 45’s campaign bloviations. Stay tuned…