After days of negotiations between moderate Republicans and their conservative counterparts in the Freedom Caucus, House Republican leaders just released amendments to their bill to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.
Decried by many as the worst health-care bill of all time, many Republicans were growing increasingly wary of not meeting the 216-vote threshold for the bill to pass out of the House. Instead of scrapping the doomed bill, though, Republicans made it even worse.
The concessions are, quite frankly, alarming.
For example, one provision would give states the option of requiring “Medicaid recipients to work” in order to receive their benefits. Someone should notify Republican leadership that, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 63 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries are children and another 24 percent are elderly, blind or disabled. And those aforementioned blind, elderly and disabled beneficiaries account for about two-thirds of the cost of Medicaid.
Another provision prevents states from expanding Medicaid. Since only 2013, Medicaid coverage has surged; now, nearly 1 in 5 Americans – 70 million people – are covered by the program. Is this the Republican party giving America its freedom back?
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) already declared that the first version of the Republican’s new healthcare bill would leave 24 million fewer Americans insured by 2026. That was before these concessions were made. There’s no telling how much worse Americans will fare after the CBO reviews this new draconian version.
As Paul Ryan and Donald Trump continue to bend to the will of the insurance lobbying powers and the conservative House Freedom Caucus, regular Americans will undoubtedly face troubling times ahead.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.