The Republican Party has dropped all its pretences. With Donald Trump in the White House, they no longer have to pretend that their mission is to protect the little guy. Their mission is to advance the interests of the wealthy. The health care bill that the Senate released yesterday offers incontrovertible proof of that. Paul Krugman writes:
The substance is terrible: tens of millions of people will experience financial distress if this passes, and tens if not hundreds of thousands will die premature deaths, all for the sake of tax cuts for a handful of wealthy people. What’s even more amazing is that Republicans are making almost no effort to justify this massive upward redistribution of income. They’re doing it because they can, because they believe that the tribalism of their voters is strong enough that they will continue to support politicians who are ruining their lives.
The Republican mission has been the same for a long time. But they used to sugar coat their rhetoric with bromides about the common good. No more:
In the past, laws that would take from the poor and working class while giving to the rich came with excuses. Tax cuts, their sponsors declared, would unleash market dynamism and make everyone more prosperous. Deregulation would increase efficiency and lower prices. It was all voodoo; the promises never came true. But at least there was some pretence of working for the common good.
Now we have none of this. This bill does nothing to reduce health care costs. It does nothing to improve the functioning of health insurance markets – in fact, it will send them into death spirals by reducing subsidies and eliminating the individual mandate. There is nothing at all in the bill that will make health care more affordable for those currently having trouble paying for it. And it will gradually squeeze Medicaid, eventually destroying any possibility of insurance for millions.
Never mind that the bill betrays the very people who put them in office. The Republicans believe their base is stupid enough to keep voting for them. Perhaps they're right.