Will 'Trumpcare' Survive Congress?
There's been no shortage of cries about 'repealing and replacing' Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) ever since the bill passed in 2010. Most of this enthusiasm has come from the right over the years, giving the opposing collective of the act seven years to come up with something better for everyone. Or they could do what they actually did...
Let's back up a bit. Why do Republicans claim that they want to repeal the ACA? Well, in a nutshell, they say it's a disastrous program that is ineffective and causes premiums to spike. The 20 million newly insured Americans may disagree with the argument that the act is ineffective, but it is true that premiums have risen. Of course, they were rising before Obamacare, but they've risen nonetheless. We also did away with coverage denial for people with pre-existing conditions. It's been a mixed bag.
So, after seven years of rallying behind this 'repeal and replace' idea, it's undoubtable that Republican lawmakers have come up with something brilliant, right? Well, most of the proposed bill offers nothing new at all, but just scales back the existing ACA in order to benefit the top financial tier of the US. These poor guys have suffered nearly a .03% increase in taxes for long enough!
One of the most inarguably important problems that the ACA addressed was the coverage of pre-existing conditions. Trump's version of the bill offers no such reality in any clear terms. It does the same thing that every other miscarriage sprung from this administration does. The Trumpcare official website says that “Trump believes it is possible to provide coverage for those with pre-existing conditions without the use of the individual mandate. However, everyone must pay their premiums consistently to stay out of a high-risk pool where coverage is subject to underwriting guidelines that can discriminate based on prior health, age and gender – and result in higher premiums.” As is generally the case with Trump, he uses the vaguest language possible to avoid saying “the fuck we're gonna cover pre-existing conditions!” Despite his campaign promise that everyone will have coverage, and the government's gonna pay for it, Trump's plan does little to nothing when it comes to confronting and realizing that point. In all fairness, it's too popular of a provision for the administration to do away with outright. But it seems that the idea of using a lapsed payment as a contingency for denial or an absurd increase in premiums is in the works. Maybe he's a politician after all.
But to everyone who knows about the undeniable reality of money's influence over legislation, whether or not the bill will actually pass through Congress is a hard thing to call. Most Congressmen show no backbone or beliefs once there's an injection of money, so they're almost a moot point. Whoever spends the most and focuses the largest concentration of energy will likely be the victor. And the imminent battle of extreme finance is probably the most interesting part of the passage of the new law.
In one corner, you have nearly 600 billion dollars in collective tax cuts for the wealthy under the new plan. While this particular group only exists in the politically abstract, and there's no lobbyist out there fighting for the interests of the Coalition of Rich People Who Couldn't Give a Shit If People Die (or whatever name such a group would come up with), their incalculable wealth and influence is sure to play a role in the upcoming discussion. Frankly, this shadowy group would be remiss in not getting organized. Hell, most of them have been paddling each other's asses for decades in various fraternities anyway, so it should be easy for them to welcome more paddles to a larger table.
In the other corner, the potential darlings for keeping the ACA in place may surprise some citizens. It's the insurance companies who are massively benefiting from the current law. As it stands, the estimate is that 20 million new people were insured under Obamacare. In fact, one of the biggest gripes from the left was that Obamacare was a bill that was pushed through to tickle the tits of such insurance companies. With the average family's monthly insurance rate being $833 per month, that's an increase of billions of dollars per year for this one industry.
While your ripping your hair out and screaming at your kids to shut up while you pour over bills, trying to figure out how to pay to keep the little bastards healthy, insurance executives are making forts out of money for their children.
However, as I was writing this article, a third hammer was thrown into the turbine. Trump announced his awe-inspiring back up plan if his health care plan doesn't pass. What is that plan, you ask? Keep Obamacare as is.
Re-read that last part if you need to. Trump's big 'Plan B' is to do nothing at all. He attempted to frame this logic by deducing that, if Obamacare fails, “we (meaning Republicans) can blame the Democrats.” That's it. That's his contingency plan. Do nothing and hope that someone else has a shit-show comparable to the gross incompetence of his presidency.
Trump's ilk will likely be as interested in keeping Obamacare as Tim Gunn is in a wet T-shirt contest during the halftime of a monster truck rally. Trump's core backers will have every sense offended by such an idea. The likelihood that this battle will come down to a rich v. richer barroom brawl is overwhelming. I'd personally give the edge to insurance interests. They have the money, motivation, and lobbyists already in place to bite the opposition right on the forehead. Not to mention the fact that the president's big backup plan is to golf the haters off, doing nothing at all to change his predecessor's landmark legislation.
But it would be reckless to rule out the ultra-wealthy who stand to benefit 'bigly' from the new plan. They already have the money and motivation. All they need to do is get together and employ some lobbyists.
At the end of the day, the new plan presents little-to-no value to the gigantic majority of Americans. If the ACA gets overturned, no one making under $200,000 a year (most of us) wouldn't receive a penny in tax breaks, millions of people would lose coverage altogether, and the sick would have to pay astronomical premiums that they can't afford in their wettest dreams. But no need to fear! Just don't buy an iPhone and hope that emergency rooms start offering routine care for terminal illnesses (real 'solutions' espoused by right-wing politicians).
It would appear that the people would benefit more from the victory of the insurance companies who've been aggressively emptying our pockets for years than we would from our own elected officials having their way. And that's where we are. We're forced to root for corporations in lieu of civil servants because we've sat back and watched the people we've elected go completely off the rails in nearly every sense.