by Brent Budowsky
Like the unfortunate ocean liner Titanic, the House Republican TrumpCare bill, created in secret and revealed in chaos, is headed toward a killer iceberg because it would be a disaster for many Americans and could destroy the GOP majority in Congress.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) faces a career-defining decision about how to proceed with the GOP healthcare bill. Having worked for House Democratic leaders and offered advice in the same Speaker’s office Ryan now occupies, my advice to him today is simple: Cut your losses, withdraw the bill, start over, work with Democrats and do it right.
The devastating analysis of TrumpCare from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) makes clear what Democrats have long charged. The pending TrumpCare bill would impose cruel and unusual punishment against major constituencies in the core Trump base, such as older white workers in swing states, as well as imposing sadistic punishment against poor citizens of all races in all states.
Equally damaging to Republicans and the nation, the pending TrumpCare bill would create a catastrophic decline in the number of Americans holding health insurance, which, according to the CBO, would ultimately fall by 24 million.
In what would be the ultimate electoral nightmare for Republicans running in 2018 and 2020, national insurance premiums would rise by some 15 percent in the near future, leaving Republicans running for reelection having to defend these premium increases to angry voters feeling betrayed by false Republican promises.
Do GOP candidates really want to tell hurting voters hit by harsh premium increases that they should endure the pain for several years until, they will promise, premiums would then fall?
The reason ObamaCare gains in popularity as its repeal comes closer to happening is that more voters understand the good ObamaCare does for them. The angry citizens at GOP town meetings are right. The coal-miner families who realize how much ObamaCare protects their health are alarmed and incensed that TrumpCare would destroy that protection and threaten their health.
Republicans have had seven years to draft an alternative to ObamaCare, yet they never did because they could not draft a policy that fulfills the promises they made to voters in speech after speech and countless millions of dollars of television campaign ads. It is no coincidence that from Election Day until very recently, House GOP leaders kept their unfolding TrumpCare plan more secret than President Trump’s tax returns.
In addition to the wave of Americans who would no longer have health insurance under TrumpCare, the wave of premium increases that would punish consumers in the aftermath of it being enacted, the damage to older white workers that it will do, and the grave damage it will force upon coal state citizens who mistakenly trusted Trump, the aggressive attack against Medicaid — which Trump once falsely promised to fiercely defend — is the final nail in the coffin of TrumpCare’s viability.
Even many GOP governors are appalled by the attack against Medicaid that TrumpCare advocates would impose against their states and constituents.
GOP leaders in Congress must have felt a chill crawl up their spine when President Trump revealed that he just discovered how complicated healthcare policy is!
As a Kennedy Democrat, what is most offensive to me is the degree that TrumpCare imposes cruel and unusual punishment against the poor. The damage that TrumpCare would do to poor people is so harsh and extreme it is more in line with the atheist selfishness of the guru of greed, Ayn Rand, a favorite of Ryan’s, than the teachings of great religious leaders, including Pope Francis, a favorite of mine, who teaches we should care for the poor, not deliberately hurt them.
TrumpCare is the political Titanic of our times. It should and will be sunk by the icebergs of bad healthcare policy and angry public rejection.
Ryan should mothball this TrumpCare ship before it goes down. Instead of drafting a new partisan policy in secret, he should work with Democrats, in public, and do it right.