The healthcare bill, known in the House of Representatives as the American Health Care Act, but more commonly called Trumpetcare, or Trumpcare, stood very little chance of passing the House, and even if it did, stood zero chance of passing the Senate. According to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), some 24 million people are likely to lose their healthcare coverage once the bill is passed. That in itself was reason enough for the bill to fail, and it needed some serious alterations before it would become palatable to We The People. A number of representatives were committed to voting “nay” for that reason alone. There was another group of uber-right-wing-conservatives, however, who felt the bill did not go far enough in stripping healthcare from the poor and middle-income citizens.
Trump, realizing that his bill was doomed to fail in today’s vote, understood (or, more likely, somebody explained to him) that changes would need to be made in order for the bill to stand a chance at surviving the initial vote. So, he made a change. No, he did not restore any of the benefits we previously had under ACA (Obamacare). Instead he caved to the demands of the far-right, further stripping away any semblance of a universal healthcare bill. He opted to remove federal requirements that health insurance plans provide a basic set of benefits like maternity care, emergency services, mental health and wellness visits. So, in the simplest of terms, if your child is running a fever of 104° in the middle of the night and you need to take him to the emergency room, expect to pay, out of pocket, upwards of $500 just for a doctor to look at him, maybe do a strep test, give him some antibiotics and ibuprofen, then send him home. Your insurance, unless you opt for the high-premium plan, will not cover it. And God forbid that you get pregnant and expect your insurance to cover your monthly/weekly doctor’s visits, ultrasound, and other tests.
Even with the change, legislators were not convinced they would have enough votes for the bill to pass this afternoon, so they delayed the vote until Friday morning, although some doubt that a vote will be held before Monday. As of this writing (7:00 p.m, Thursday 23 March) there are some 47 Republican representatives either undecided or planning to vote against the bill. This is encouraging in that it says some have managed to remember who their employers truly are.
There are some level-headed people in the House. Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts urged House Republicans to ‘slow down’, saying, “This health care repeal affects millions upon millions upon millions of Americans. Don’t jam a disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes.” And Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania said, “I believe this bill, in its current form, will lead to the loss of coverage and make insurance unaffordable for too many Americans, particularly for low- to moderate-income and older individuals.” And Representative Andy Harris of Maryland said, “This legislation simply won’t lower premiums as much as the American people need, and lowering the cost of coverage is my primary goal.”
The delay in putting the bill to a vote is intended by boot-licking Republicans to give Paul Ryan a chance to talk the bill through … to convince holdouts to vote ‘yea’ instead of ‘nay’. But, as noted by the New York Times Thursday evening, “as Mr. Trump and House leaders focus on the Republican Party’s conservatives, they are losing House moderates.”
Back on the campaign trail, as I have previously noted, Trump made certain, specific promises regarding universal healthcare:
“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. here was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”
“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.”
“I am going to take care of everybody … Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”
It appears that with the bill currently under consideration in the House of Representatives, each of the above promises is an alternative truth. ‘Everybody’ will not have insurance, many of us will not be able to afford any health insurance, Medicaid will be cut out within the next two years, and Trump is taking care of nobody other than himself and his wealthy backers.
As of March 1, there are 237 Republicans in the House, and 193 Democrats. What this means is that for a simple majority, it only requires that 23 Republican representatives remember to whom they answer and say ‘NAY’ when the vote comes up.
What happened to his promises?
Note to Trump supporters: this bill will affect you just as much as anyone. This is what you wanted? Whether or not it is, your representatives apparently believe it is, and they are acting ‘on your behalf’, to shove this piece of crap legislation through the House with a speed that they have not seen during the entire past eight years! I sincerely hope that you will be happy with the choices you made back in November, as this, my friends, is the result. Enjoy the rest of your short lives.