US House of Representatives leader Paul Ryan pulled out his new American Health Care Act last week, which he is hoping will be used to replace the Affordable Care Act. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) yesterday, within a decade as many as 24 million US citizens will lose their health care coverage and premiums will go up for the rest of us if Ryan’s plan is passed, and especially for low income people and the elderly. Many grandmas and grandpas will have to chose between starving to death, or not paying their overpriced healthcare premiums, thanks to the Ryan plan.
Obamacare has only added slightly more than 19 million people to the rolls of the health insured. That means another 4 million US citizens beyond Obamacare may lose their coverage with Ryan’s carefully thought out health care bill. And it has been carefully thought out.
The primary purpose of this bill by all appearances is to provide tax cuts to the rich, the only people who have been the beneficiary of thirty-six years of economic expansions, and deliberately so. Currently, there is a 0.9 percent tax on income over $200,000 a year to help fund Obamacare. There is also a 3.5 percent tax on capital gains for the same purpose, such as the profits from the sale of stocks and bonds. This is why Wall Street hedge funds and big investment firms want Obamacare gone.
Many Republicans are prepared to make the Republican Party and all it stands for into a giant death panel in order to make its billionaire masters richer. Herr Ryan is one of these. Yet, other Republicans want to get reelected.
Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for example, said Tuesday that she wouldn’t be able to support Ryan’s health care legislation after the CBO score revealed the high number of people who would lose insurance.
“I plan to vote NO on the current #AHCA bill. As written the plan leaves too many from my #SoFla district uninsured,” the Florida congresswoman wrote in two consecutive tweets. “As #AHCA stands, it will cut much needed help for #SoFla’s poor + elderly populations. Need a plan that will do more to protect them.”
This shows several things. The legislation is not likely going to pass. The Republicans are going to find it difficult to give their billionaire masters tax cuts by replacing Obamacare. So they will likely try a different tack.
The most likely scenario is simply keeping Obamacare largely intact, but shifting the tax burden from the rich to the middle and lower classes, and then marketing this plan as replacing Obamacare. One thing is certain; replacing Obamacare and taking health insurance from tens of millions of people in the process is not going to be politically palatable.