House Republicans have spent the last six years fruitlessly trying to repeal Obamacare. Now that the GOP is on the cusp of a successful repeal without any replacement plan, their plan to start a War to Make America Sick Again is so hideously damaging, that just in its first decade Trump and the Republicans will cost taxpayers over four times what the Iraq War cost over a similar time period. But don’t worry, a “successful” repeal of Obamacare by House Republicans will also kill millions of private sector jobs within just a few years.
That kind of flagrant debt-fueled spending to accomplish harm looks unseemly because it is, so Paul Ryan’s House GOP did the only fiscally responsible thing that he could do: House Republicans voted to hide the actual cost of repealing the Affordable Care Act from the American public and how we’d spend $9 Trillion dollars to gut our country’s health care systems and deny access to millions of people. First, a Bloomberg reporter discovered that the Republicans call their needless deficit spike an “appropriate” level of public debt:
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) January 4, 2017
Then it took a slick addition to the House rules in order to orchestrate the GOP’s back-room deals which would devastate ordinary Americans that just want to be able to see a doctor when they’re sick, buy healthcare outside the group system and help to pay for health insurance if they’re working and poor.
As Shareblue reports, it’s no small task to hide $9 trillion dollars, but that’s why House Republicans voted to doom the Office of Congressional Ethics, so they could slip the below language into this year’s House Rules and hope nobody would notice.
On page 25 of the final rules package Republicans adopted this year, a subsection instructs the director of the Congressional Budget Office to perform a 10-year cost analysis of each bill reported by the House:
(1) CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE ANALYSIS OF PROPOSALS.—The Director of the Congressional Budget Office shall, to the extent practicable, prepare an estimate of whether a bill or joint resolution reported by a committee (other than the Committee on Appropriations), or amendment thereto or conference report thereon, would cause, relative to current law, a net increase in direct spending in excess of $5,000,000,000 in any of the 4 consecutive 10 fiscal year periods beginning with the first fiscal year that is 10 fiscal years after the current fiscal year.
But on the next page (emphasis added):
(4) LIMITATION.—This subsection shall not apply to any bill or joint resolution, or amendment thereto or conference report thereon—
(A) repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and title I and subtitle B of title II of the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010;
(B) reforming the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010; or
(C) for which the chair of the Committee on the Budget has made an adjustment to the allocations, levels, or limits contained in the most recently adopted concurrent resolution on the budget.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D – Minn.) noted the effect of that language would be to prevent the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) from even reporting what Republicans repeal measures would cost to the general public.
House GOP rules package bars CBO from counting spikes in deficit spending spurred by an ACA repeal.
— Keith Ellison (@keithellison) January 5, 2017
Even the rank-and-file members of the House GOP would literally have no idea what they’re voting upon if the CBO is muzzled. The entire purpose of a non-partisan office to do the math is to protect the American people from legislative malpractice.
While deficits are important, the ill-conceived Republican repeal plans don’t just blow up the deficit, and they won’t just make millions of Americans sick and thousands die each year. No, repealing Obamacare will act like an anti-jobs bill too. By 2019 alone, the Commonwealth Fund estimates that House Republicans repeal plans will wipe out billions in state tax revenues and kill 2.6 million private sector jobs:
Repeal results in a $140 billion loss in federal funding for health care in 2019, leading to the loss of 2.6 million jobs (mostly in the private sector) that year across all states. A third of lost jobs are in health care, with the majority in other industries. If replacement policies are not in place, there will be a cumulative $1.5 trillion loss in gross state products and a $2.6 trillion reduction in business output from 2019 to 2023. States and health care providers will be particularly hard hit by the funding cuts.
Even more stupefying, the Republican Party has made repealing the ACA a rallying cry for six years, and now tell Bloomberg that they hope to have a plan on paper to replace it within six months.
Paul Ryan and his House GOP caucus of budget chicken-hawks know that their cockamamie idea to break America’s national health care markets would also come with a sky-high price tag on the national deficit. Just like the Iraq War plan, House Republicans plan to use a lot of magical thinking to wreck our country’s budgets with gargantuan deficits.
So just like the Iraq War plan, House Republicans plan to use a lot of magical thinking to wreck our country’s finances and to keep the American people in the dark about how their government is about to indebt their great-grandchildren to make a few billionaires richer.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition