The American Senate's version of Trumpcare is a nasty piece of work. And Republicans are doing everything they can to keep their fellow citizens in the dark. Robert Reich writes:
America’s wealthiest taxpayers (earning more than $200,000 a year, $250,000 for couples) would get a tax cut totaling $346bn over 10 years, representing what they save from no longer financing healthcare for lower-income Americans.
That’s not all. The bill would save an additional $400bn on Medicaid, which Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Donald Trump are intent on shrinking in order to cut even more taxes for the wealthy and for big corporations.
If enacted, it would be the largest single transfer of wealth to the rich from the middle class and poor in American history.
But the legislation is structured to hide those facts:
The Senate bill appears to retain the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for poorer Americans. But starting in 2020, the subsidies would no longer be available for many of the working poor who now receive them, nor for anyone who’s not eligible for Medicaid.
Another illusion: the bill seems to keep the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. But the expansion is phased out, starting in 2021.
The core of the bill – where its biggest savings come from – is a huge reduction in Medicaid, America’s healthcare program for the poor, elderly and disabled.
This, too, is disguised. States would receive an amount of money per Medicaid recipient that appears to grow as healthcare costs rise.
But starting in 2025, the payments would be based on how fast costs rise in the economy as a whole.
Yet medical costs are rising faster than overall costs. They’ll almost surely continue to do so – as America’s elderly population grows, and as new medical devices, technologies, and drugs prolong life.
Which means that after 2025, Medicaid coverage will shrink.
Like their president, the Republicans are fundamentally dishonest and morally bankrupt. And millions of Americans are cheering them on.