The scorekeeper speaks
from Peter Radford
The Congressional Budget Office is the latest victim of the intensity of Washington politics. The CBO is the organization we rely on to “score” legislation so that Congress and the White House know roughly what impact their policies will have on the country. As you can imagine being the CBO during times such as these when alternative facts have become the primary way of explaining things is perilous. Worse: being the CBO when one party wants to cram through some legislation that is already known to be a doozy is more than perilous.
So it is with Trumpcare.
Up until today we were just guessing at how awful the Republican healthcare reform plan is. Now we know. The CBO issued its report today. There isn’t much to say other than this:
- A sixty-four year old man with an income of $26,000 [which is 175% of the poverty limit] would be hammered — that’s an understatement. Under Obamacare such a person pays $15,300 for a policy but gets a subsidy of $13,600 for a net cost of $1,700. Under Trumpcare that same person pays $19,500 for a policy and gets a subsidy of $4,900 for a net cost of $14,600. So healthcare becomes over 50% of that person’s annual income. This is an astonishing and thoroughly immoral attack on the poor.
- If that same person was much better off and was earning $68,200 [which is 450% of the poverty limit] the same numbers apply. The massive rise in cost is slightly more bearable, but is still an outrageous act of pillage.
- Twenty-four million people will lose their coverage entirely.
- By 2026 a total of 52 million people will be uninsured, compared with an estimated 28 million under Obamacare.
- Spending on Medicaid, America’s primary healthcare plan for the very poor, will be reduced by $880 billion over the next ten years. An example of the damage this will do is that Medicaid provides about 60% of all spending on old age homes. So the effect of reducing it so drastically will be to throw older and sicker people back into the care of their families, reducing those families ability to pay for other things and thus setting up a negative cascade through the economy that could dramatically affect growth.
- By altering the funding set aside for Medicare, the plan brings forward the date of the insolvency of the Medicare Fund by three years.
- The plan contains specific wording to attack Planned Parenthood which is the country’s primary delivery mechanism for family planning to low income women.
I need say no more.
The Republican plan is mean spirited, stupid, immoral, and menacing. It represents a massive tax cut for the wealthy and an equally massive attack on income redistribution. It may satisfy the raving libertarian right, but it utterly fails even the slightest humanitarian test.
It is important we pin the moniker “Trumpcare” on it. Make Trump responsible for the damage he is trying to do because of this great irony: the slice of the population hit the hardest is exactly that slice who voted for Trump with the largest percentage margin. He is undermining his own supporters. He manifestly lied during the election. Either that or he is spineless because he could oppose the plan but isn’t.
This plan must be stopped.