Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Is The Push For TrumpCare II Just A Sham To Gin Up Flagging GOP Support In GA-06?


It must have been such a drag for Ryan and whomever reads the polls for Señor Trumpanzee to see the brand new Gallup poll, showing the Affordable Care act with majority approval for the first time ever-- 55%. Approval is up 17% among independents and up 10% with both Democrats and Republicans. How bipartisan! Gallup's analysis of the data suggests that "politically, it creates a major obstacle to Trump and Congress' ongoing efforts to change or replace the law. In future elections, it could turn the GOP's opposition to the law from an asset into a liability. More importantly in the daily lives of Americans, it might mean that the most sweeping changes to the nation's healthcare system in decades will remain the law of the land for the foreseeable future."

Remember when the first iteration of Ryan's TrumpCare bill had just 17% approval. Now that Trump himself has gotten involved in the process-- or so he claims-- the approval is bound to sink even lower. As Margot Sanger-Katz explained to NY Times readers just as Trump and Pence were weirdly crowing about another bill on the way, this one undermines one of the things about Obamacare that virtually everyone-- except insurance companies-- loves: coverage for pre-existing conditions. All through the campaign and all through the "debate" over repeal and replace, Trump-- and most top congressional leaders-- have assured the American people that their plan "would retain a crucial, popular part of the health law: the promise that people can buy insurance even if they’ve had illnesses in the past." As part of his deal with the Freedom Caucus extremists Trump is giving up on that pledge.
The terms, described by Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina and the head of the Freedom Caucus, are something like this: States would have the option to jettison two major parts of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance regulations. They could decide to opt out of provisions that require insurers to cover a standard, minimum package of benefits, known as the essential health benefits. And they could decide to do away with a rule that requires insurance companies to charge the same price to everyone who is the same age, a provision called community rating.

...The ability to opt out of the benefit requirements could substantially reduce the value of insurance on the market. A patient with cancer might, for example, still be allowed to buy a plan, but it wouldn’t do her much good if that plan was not required to cover chemotherapy drugs.

The second opt-out would make the insurance options for those with pre-existing conditions even more meaningless.

Technically, the deal would still prevent insurers from denying coverage to people with a history of illness. But without community rating, health plans would be free to charge those patients as much as they wanted. If both of the Obamacare provisions went away, the hypothetical cancer patient might be able to buy only a plan, without chemotherapy coverage, that costs many times more than a similar plan costs a healthy customer. Only cancer patients with extraordinary financial resources and little interest in the fine print would sign up.

There is a reason that many conservatives want to do away with these provisions. Because they help people with substantial health care needs buy relatively affordable coverage, they drive up the price of insurance for people who are healthy. An insurance market that did not include cancer care-- or even any cancer patients-- would be one where premiums for the remaining customers were much lower. The result might be a market that is much more affordable for people with a clean bill of health. But it would become largely inaccessible to anyone who really needs help paying for medical care.
How much less popular than 17% could a new and revised TrumpCare be? Dr. David Gill is the progressive Democrat running for the seat occupied by Paul Ryan ally Peter Roskam in the suburbs west of Chicago. Yesterday, as the new TrumpCare proposals started leaking out, he told us that "Many of my friends on the political left were celebrating when TrumpCare appeared to die an ignoble death a couple of weeks ago. I cautioned them, though, that it didn't die for appropriate reasons; it appeared to meet its demise because it wasn't mean-spirited enough for many members of Congress. With the revisions being discussed, such as the elimination of essential health benefits and of provisions requiring coverage of those with pre-existing conditions, the bill becomes far more mean-spirited and meets the needs of some of the members of Congress who balked two weeks ago. TrumpCare as it was was already a travesty; with the revisions being discussed, it returns American healthcare to its tragic state, a condition in which an American dies every 12 minutes simply because they lack health insurance." David is an emergency room physician but he's also one of the most dedicated progressive leaders to be running for Congress anywhere. Blue America has endorsed him and you can contribute to his campaign here. More from David on what to do about the reprehensible plan the Republicans are trying to foist on the country again:
We as a people are so much better than this. The majority of Americans recognize that access to appropriate healthcare should be a basic human right. I have supported a single-payer system for 25 years, and momentum continues to grow for America to join the rest of the world in establishing such a system. I look forward to going to Congress in January 2019 and speaking boldly with my progressive physician's voice, leading an effort to bring us the healthcare system that we so richly deserve.
Although Ryan has been tamping down the rumor, it's possibe the House could vote on the new proposal Friday or next week even though there's still no legislative text yet-- let alone a CBO analysis and score-- the last thing Ryan and Trump want. The Regime seems to have made a deal with Freedom Caucus to buy off their votes and the plan is to rush it to the floor ASAP. What the new bill comes down to, basically, is that protections for those with pre-existing conditions just got thrown overboard and that insurance companies will be able to charge anyone with a pre-existing condition whatever they want to.

So what will the more mainstream Republicans who opposed TrumpCare do? One of them, Frank Biondo (R-NJ) tweeted-- and a personally signed tweet, no less-- yesterday that he still had "seen nothing in terms of reported possible changes to American Health Care Act warranting reconsideration. I remain a NO. Frank."

Ryan Grim, among others, has been speculating that "Republicans are chest-thumping that they're not finished trying to repeal Obamacare because they are afraid they're going to get beaten in the upcoming Georgia special election. Simple as that. The GOP base is furious that the party spent 7 years pretending they were going to repeal the Affordable Care Act and as soon as they had a chance, they slipped on a banana and crawled off screen. 'Sorry that didn't work out,' is how Mitch McConnell put it, in a truly great McConnellism. And so with an election coming, Republican voters are wondering why they would bother to go vote for a party that lied to them for 7 years and must think they're stupid. So to try to re-energize them, they're now saying they're going to repeal it and replace it-- totally for real this time. So therefore Republicans should go vote in Georgia and avoid a loss that could be catastrophic for the party's ability to hold together as a coalition. Lose in Georgia, and people might start running for the exits. So for them, it doesn't matter how bad the bill is, or whether it can get through the Senate, they just need to pass something, anything, to show they tried. They've done it 71 times already; let's see if they can do it a 72nd." Harsh-- and there's a small problem with it (one Republicans can overlook, of course). Polling in GA-06, shows a majority of votes prefer the Affordable Care Act and absolutely hate the TrumpCare proposal.
Health care is the top issue in this district, and one where Ossoff presents a clear contrast to the deeply unpopular Trump/Republican health care plan. Though GA-06 is a Republican-leaning district, the Republican health care plan tests far more negatively than the Affordable Care Act, with 59% of likely voters viewing it unfavorably.
Likely voters-- GA-06

Monday evening Pence, Mulvaney and Priebus held a meeting at the White House with a gaggle of the so-called mainstream Republicans who were already on board with the old TrumpCare, including the incumbent David Gill is running against, Rodney Davis. The object was to make sure that they would lose these yes votes by making the bill much worse. And they all agreed. But by last night Ryan and McCarthy were claiming that by Trump giving in to insane Freedom Caucus demands, normal-ish Republicans are starting to jump ship. Ryan staffers are running around claiming the Speaker thinks the new proposals will lose more votes than it picks up from the extremists who, in effect, just want to end all government involvement with healthcare. (Ryan does too, but thinks it has to be done incrementally.)

Early this morning, Dr. Jason Westin, the Democrat running for the Harris County seat occupied by Trump puppet John Culberson, contacted us about how he saw the new attempts by the Republicans to pass another version of ACA repeal. "Amazingly," he told us, "TrumpCare 2.0 is even worse than the original. The latest attempt by the GOP to rework the US Healthcare system would explicitly allow insurers to discriminate against sick patients, removing the essential health benefits and the community rating requirements created by the Affordable Care Act. Essential health benefits required all insurance plans to cover key services like outpatient care, hospitalization, and prescription drugs. The community rating prohibited insurers from using the actual or expected health status to set insurance costs. As a recent AP-NORC poll found that pre-existing condition protections were favored by 66% of Americans, Republicans will claim they are not removing the 'pre-existing conditions' protections required by the ACA.  But in reality, this plan is devastating to the 27% percent of Americans with pre-existing conditions. Insurances will charge cancer patients a fortune for coverage, and not cover prescriptions to essentially exclude them from the market, thus driving down their costs. This is an even less serious plan to replace the ACA than TrumpCare 1.0, which Congressman John Culberson (R-TX07) 'absolutely' supported. I plan to repeal and replace Career Congressman Culberson in 2018, but in the meantime, I strongly urge him to vote no on behalf of our constituents in TX-07."

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At 7:59 AM, Blogger janet said...

Love to read about my district, GA 6th. My adult kids and I voted our Ossoff yesterday!


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