Republicans will never publicly admit it, but their latest efforts – in fact, all of their efforts – to repeal the Affordable Care Act have absolutely nothing to do with improving America’s health care system.
They may constantly claim otherwise, but their actions make it transparently obvious: They have zero desire to ensure every man, woman and child in this country has access to adequate and affordable medical care.
It’s just not something they’re into.
Most of us have known this for a long time, but the cruel Graham-Cassidy legislation desperately being ushered through the Senate as we speak makes it abundantly clear.
Republicans say they want to make health care more affordable and stabilize the insurance markets, but their new bill will do just the opposite.
“Premiums in the individual market would climb by 15 percent to 20 percent in the first plan year,” an analysis by the Commonwealth Fund found. “Uncertainty over how states would use their block-grant funding would likely lead to even greater instability in the individual market.”
They say Obamacare is a job killer, despite the historic streak of job creation that has continued throughout the law’s implementation. But the Graham-Cassidy bill would actually be a job killer.
As the same analysis noted, the new GOP legislation “would have severe nationwide economic effects, leading to a loss of 2.6 million jobs.”
Republicans say they want to expand coverage, but each of their failed repeal bills would have kicked tens of millions of Americans off their insurance plans. With Graham-Cassidy, more than 32 million people would lose coverage.
In their most shameful lie, proponents of the bill, including Donald Trump, claim the legislation will care for those who have pre-existing conditions.
Trump even tweeted about it this week:
I would not sign Graham-Cassidy if it did not include coverage of pre-existing conditions. It does! A great Bill. Repeal & Replace.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2017
But the new plan, which he supports, would give states the option of eliminating coverage for these Americans – or just pricing them out of it.
Note to the president: It helps to read legislation before offering an opinion on it.
According to the Center for American Progress, “Graham-Cassidy would be devastating for individuals with pre-existing conditions,” even when it comes to mild conditions like asthma.
“An individual with asthma would face a premium surcharge of $4,340,” the analysis found. “The surcharge for diabetes would be $5,600 per year. Coverage could become prohibitively expensive for those in dire need of care: Insurers would charge about $17,320 more in premiums for pregnancy, $26,580 more for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders, and $142,650 more for patients with metastatic cancer.”
As I wrote earlier this week, this is not coverage – it’s a death sentence.
All of this makes it no surprise, then, that nobody outside of Washington, D.C. seems to like the new Republican plan.
As Paul Krugman wrote Friday in The New York Times, “It’s not just progressives: The American Medical Association, the insurance industry and Blue Cross/Blue Shield have all warned that markets would be destabilized and millions would lose coverage.”
Republicans wrote a sloppy and inhumane health care bill, and they know it’s bad. They know that anybody with casual knowledge of America’s health care system thinks it would be devastating.
Once we acknowledge the reality that none of this matters to them, it becomes easy to recognize why they are still pushing to pass it.
To them, the pain and suffering that Graham-Cassidy would inflict on millions of Americans is worth it because it gives them an opportunity to take a shot at Barack Obama, a president most of them never thought was legitimate to begin with. Remember, these are the same folks who repeatedly questioned the birthplace of the former president. Many of them are still seething with rage that his presidency was, by most measures, a monumental success.
As Krugman added in his op-ed today, “Republicans are desperate to destroy President Barack Obama’s legacy in any way possible, no matter how many American lives they ruin in the process.”
Perhaps the saddest part of this spectacle is that many supporters of Trump and the GOP Congress share this blind hatred of Obama, and they’re all too willing to load up a gun and fire it at their own feet if it means ripping up his historic achievement on health care.
Most Republicans in Congress will surely continue to support this dangerous piece of legislation and may even be successful in passing it, but it’s important to know why they’re doing it.
So, repeat after me: None of this is about improving health care in America. It’s not about making your life better – it never has been. It’s about damaging the legacy of this country’s first African American president.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.