Legendary journalist Dan Rather took to Facebook today to yet again rail against the utter shambles that is President Donald Trump’s administration. This week, Republicans published their initial proposal to replace Obamacare – Trumpcare, if you will – and it’s just as awful as anyone could have expected. In essence, the proposal is just a $600 billion tax cut for America’s wealthiest citizens, while cutting health insurance to those who need it most. Rather was having none of it.
Read his thoughts below:
So it turns out drafting major health care legislation is difficult, who knew?
For seven years we’ve been hearing from Republicans about how horrible Obamacare was, and this was the best they could come up with? A rush job that doesn’t seem to have any new ideas or fix the core problems? It seems to prove the point that this was always about rhetoric and not about actually trying to make health insurance either cover more people or lower costs.
The ball is firmly in the court of the GOP. They control the government, and President Trump made promises on the campaign trail about lower premiums, keeping your doctor, everyone staying insured, etc. Basically a version of healthcare that would be better told by Hans Christian Andersen – a fairy tale. And everyone with any sense on this issue knew it.
Legislation isn’t a campaign speech. It actually has to be made up of words that lead to law. And those words have to actually tell you something about who will win and who will lose. Who will be covered and how much it might cost. And now that we have a GOP plan, it is getting picked apart by politicians and interest groups on all sides. It is starting to look about as popular as ants at a picnic.
You had to guess that with Paul Ryan running the show, progressives would not end up liking the result. Millions more likely uninsured? Check. Massive tax cuts for the rich? Looks that way. Also, some powerful outside voices are lining up in opposition. The AARP said ” this harmful legislation would make health care less secure and less affordable.” You can also add a major hospital group and others in the healthcare industry to the critics.
But perhaps most threatening to the long term prospects for the bill is the push and pull within the Republican Party. Moderate Senators are complaining about how rushed the process is and what will likely happen to lower income Americans. Meanwhile, the hardline conservatives see this effort as some sort of Obamacare light. And they are being propelled by outside groups on the right.
There is a lot of wonderful analysis in the press about what the GOP approach means in terms of policy. But ultimately, sadly, this will be decided on political grounds. When Ryan said “Doing big things is never easy, but we have made a promise, and we’re going to keep that promise,” he was talking of political promises made on campaign trails and fanned by conservative media. He was not talking of making promises to insure more Americans.
So here we stand. And President Trump is swinging the full weight of his Administration behind the Ryan plan. Maybe that will be enough to arm twist skeptical Republicans. Or maybe this effort will fall apart in spectacular failure. Mr. Trump promised to replace and repeal Obamacare on day one. But the Affordable Care Act (yes to some out there, that is the same as Obamacare) is still the law of the land. And who knows how long that may last. It likely will be dramatic political theater. It’s just a horrible shame that the stakes being toyed with are millions of Americans and their health insurance.
Rather touches on an interesting point: There really isn’t a Republican consensus on whether this bill is good or not. The Tea Party Republicans think that it’s one massive compromise to usher in “socialist health care light” while others believe it goes too far. Could this be the topic that splits the Republicans along ideological fault lines? This bill already has a lot of opposition, not least from the Democrats as well as the AARP, but things will get interesting if Republicans themselves start voting against it.
Republicans are soon going to realize that after seven years of criticism Americans are expecting them to put their money where their mouth is and deliver their coveted Obamacare replacement. Whether they are successful or not is a different story, but regardless of the outcome, Trumpcare is about punishing poor Americans for being poor by not giving them access to basic medical care.