Yesterday, President Donald Trump was flanked by a murder of crows from the House of Representatives, including Speaker Paul Ryan, as they praised themselves for the narrow to 217-213 vote to repeal and replace Obamacare. Many Republicans, including many millions who have no legit reason to be Republicans based upon their low income and how this Bill would hurt them directly, felt exalted. Many Democrats and progressive independents seemed depressed.
As for me, I just sat back and smiled, all the while knowing that near orgasmic celebrations by Trump et al was but the latest example of “premature legislation” in the public square.
Why am I so relaxed? The Affordable Health Care Act that narrowly passed yesterday will be gutted like a catfish fresh from the bottom of the stream by the Senate, or will die altogether without the 51 votes necessary for its passage per reconciliation rules.
For those wondering why I am so confident that what passes yesterday will not become law, it boils down to a major point that Trump and his merry minions in the House have overlooked: Destroying the expansion of Medicaid that Obamacare provided will detrimentally impact millions of Americans in both red and blue states and force them to have less coverage–or none at all.
You see, the problem with premature legislators is that they rush to completion, and by failing to “take their time, (and) do it right” like the S.O.S. Band used to sing, House Republicans cut across the diamond from second base to home plate without the benefit of analyses by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and private think-tanks like the Brookings Institute that will weigh the costs both from a fiscal standpoint as well as direct impact on the American people. Indeed, Trump yesterday seemed almost giddy as he heaped praise on how “quickly” TrumpDon’tCare was passed as opposed to Obamacare’s more deliberative process in 2009, and the Clinton administration’s laborious but ultimately doomed attempt at reform back in the mid-90s. The Senate, however, will have the benefit of such analyses and because of that, will be forced to be far more contemplative and patient in its approach to legislation making.
The truth of the matter is that TrumpDon’tCare as currently comprised is a victory for those lords of the business manor who opposed being compelled to cover their serfs in the first place. It also is a victory for said lords and other high income earners who could find their taxes cut by nearly $300 Billion through a proposed cut in payroll and investment income taxes over the next 10 years.
That is the heart of the matter, my friends, and the fact that folks with pre-existing conditions ranging from cancer to diabetes to even maternity will find their coverage tripling to quintupling, simply shows that the average man or woman were not on the minds of the aforementioned murder of crows that participated in yesterday’s celebratory orgy at the Rose Garden.
Not that the average man or woman who screams “Make America Great Again” will even care to read the Bill or any serious analysis of the same, as to this wretched lot, the ability to say that the first Black POTUS’ signature legislation was “repealed and replaced” is enough to satisfy their latent to blatant racial biases and designs to put the “uppity Kenyan Muslim Marxist,” Barack Obama, back in his place.
But the fervent desire by House Republicans to diminish Obama’s legacy leaves far too many Americans at risk, particularly millions of small business owners who went from zero coverage to some coverage under Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. As to this point, Amanda Ballantyne, the national director of Main Street Alliance, a small business advocacy group, averred yesterday that, “…this bill leaves small-business owners in a terrible position, one they were all too familiar with before the A.C.A., unable to afford premium hikes year to year, unsure their employees will be healthy and able to work, and uncertain of the future of their businesses.”
Fortunately, there are Republican Senators who recognize that while imperfect, that Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid and elimination of preexisting conditions as a coverage liability did have an enormous beneficial impact on many millions of their constituents. To this point, Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, a persistent critic of TrumpDon’tCare from the outset, said yesterday: “I have concerns that this bill does not do enough to protect Ohio’s Medicaid expansion population, especially those who are receiving treatment for heroin and prescription drug use.”
As I mentioned above, the GOP has a slim 52 person majority in the Senate, and the tergiversations between GOP moderates and conservatives spells trouble for TrumpDon’tCare should Portman or any three or more of the following senators from states where Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion benefitted its residents vote “no”: Senators Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Rand Paul of Kentucky, along with Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Dean Heller of Nevada. Heller’s comment as depicted below sums up the issue in dispute
If the GOP fails to get to 51 votes in the Senate, or if a version is sent back to the House that is so moderate that House conservatives will balk, then yesterday’s victory celebration could rival “Dewey Defeats Truman” as far as premature political folly—much to my sheer delight.