The Senate Republicans released the health care bill they secretly worked on for months. It is basically Obamacare made sixty percent worse in order to fund a large tax cuts for the rich, drug companies, insurance companies, and device makers.
This massive cut to Medicaid shows the priorities of Republicans. They value tax cuts for the rich over health care for the poor. They are willing to let poor people die so rich people pay less taxes.
An equally important aspect of the bill is how much it adheres to Obamacare’s basic structure. It is an example of the dishonesty of Republicans. Plus, when it comes to health care solutions, they are intellectually bankrupt.
This plan is not an Obamacare repeal, it is just an Obamacare cut.
Besides eliminating the employer mandate and the individual mandate, the Senate bill leaves the basic design and philosophy behind the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mostly unchanged.
Just like Obamacare, under the Senate Republican plan, individuals without employer coverage will still buy private insurance using tax credits based on their income and the average cost of insurance premiums in their area. The main difference is regulations are weaker and the amount of help provided is significantly cut.
While tax credits under the ACA were based on helping people afford a bad silver plan with large deductibles (roughly $3,500), the Senate plan will only help people afford a terrible bronze plan with massive deductibles (roughly $6,000).
Although the ACA provides subsidies for people making up to about $47,500, the Senate plan only provides help to those making up to $41,500.
The ACA provides big subsidies for those near the poverty line the Republican plan offers only insufficient help.
The Republican bill solves none of the problems with the ACA. Instead, it provides Americans with a worse version of the same basic idea. It does so little to change the basic design there is basically no ideological defense for it.
Senate Republicans could have at least tried to replace Obamacare with a totally different program design, to justify all their effort and hate directed at the ACA. Even the House Republican version, which is also terrible, made some real design changes. It effectively based the tax credits only on age, which was an attempt to fix the subsidy cliff problem in the ACA.
One could argue by not pegging tax credits to local premium costs, the House bill would bring down health care spending by encouraging people to move to lower cost areas. These are not good arguments, but at least there is a theory of change to argue about. The House bill would create massive problems but at least fix a few marginal ones.
Instead, with the Senate bill, Americans get the same structure of the ACA with all the same problems made worse.
After seven years of attacking Obamacare as everything from a socialist conspiracy to a plot to pull the plug on grandma and after three years of complaining about Obamacare’s high premiums and deductibles, the Republicans’ long-promised replacement is effectively just Obamacare with much higher costs for consumers.
It shows the problem elected Republicans had with Obamacare was really how it did not make the working poor struggle enough for access to affordable health care.