Over the past eight years, the Republican rallying cry of “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” has never been about making the delivery of health care “better” for Americans, rather, the fundamental purpose of this cause was to ensure that health related industries maximize profits to the fullest.
Yet the Republican Party, thanks mostly to a loyal group of talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, has done an amazing job over the past two decades of making working class whites living paycheck to paycheck, and their poorer brethren living welfare check to welfare check, believe that GOP stands for “Good Ol’ Populists.” But the stark reality is that the only populace that matters to GOP power brokers are those from Wall Street who line their coffers with campaign contributions each election cycle. My analysis is not mere Democratic partisan drivel; I spent two decades in the Republican Party trying desperately to raise awareness about issues that impact the working and abjectly poor of all races, only time and again to conclude that the majority of the elected officials in the party were greedy sycophants beholden to Big Business lobbyists who were beholden to equally greedy Big Insurance and Big Pharmacy concerns.
So the disgusting display of faux populism at the White House last month where House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump extolled the virtues of the Affordable Health Care Act, a/k/a Trumpcare, really was nothing more than a pep rally to fool ardent Trump supporters, including his working poor and abjectly poor white ones, into believing that the Bill would “improve” a system that had become a “disaster” under President Obama. These supporters, particularly the poor white ones who like Pavlov’s dogs get riled up each time the “uppity” Obama’s name is raised, were willfully blind to predictions that much of the coverage that they had benefited from since Obamacare’s passage would be rolled back per Trumpcare.
Because so many Americans lack the discipline to study measures or to view politics beyond a basic sporting level of “us” vs “them” analysis, those of us in the know already knew that the next important step would be to await for the independent Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis of the Bill.
Alas, yesterday, the CBO’s latest report indicated that Trumpcare would increase the projected number of Americans without health insurance by 14 million in 2018, and by 23 million by 2026. While the federal deficit would be reduced by $119 billion over the next decade–far less than the original GOP estimate of $150 Billion in savings–such austerity would come at the expense of those who lose coverage or find themselves underinsured based upon the higher premiums that Big Insurance companies will charge. Such also would stand to benefit wealthy Americans who await the massive tax cuts that Trump and Ryan are working on, while giving wealthy small business owners options to avoid being forced to cover per mandate.
Even more deplorable, the CBO report predicts that the elimination of the Obamacare mandate, coupled with restrictions on Medicaid spending by the individual states and the ability of Big Insurance to increase costs for pre-existing conditions, could make insurance completely unavailable for millions of other Americans in states inhabited by both Democrats and Trump supporters alike; the aforementioned working poor and abjectly poor Trump supporters, bless their hearts, will not realize how dire matters are until they see just how limited their coverage will be and how high their prescription costs will rise.
But the most sinister sophistry that Trump and Ryan et al have pulled on their poorer fans is their suggestions that those with preexisting conditions will continue to enjoy the protections afforded them per Obamacare. The CBO report exposes their lie perfectly:
“People who are less healthy (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all — despite the additional funding that would be available under H.R. 1628 to help reduce premiums. As a result, the nongroup markets in those states would become unstable for people with higher-than-average expected health care costs.”
Many Trump devotees are in for a rude awakening when they realize that the same folks who led them in chants of “Build that Wall,” “Extreme vetting of Muslims,” and “Reducing crime among ‘The Blacks,'” conveniently left out their silent chant, “Make Insurance and Pharamceutical Companies Exorbitantly Profitable Again.”
With a nod to the cliche that “election results matter,” when the dust settled last November and it was clear that Donald Trump would preside for at least two years with Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress, it was easy to conclude that Obamacare was in peril. But if the CBO report proves prescient, should the Senate pass Trumpcare in its current or similar form, thus causing their base to lose coverage or benefits, the resulting anger could lead to GOP base voter apathy in 2018 and 2020, an apathy that could lead to a boon for Democratic candidates across America.