Republicans push plan to gut Medicaid and slash taxes for the wealthy

by Kate Randall, WSWS

Top Trump administration officials appeared on the political talk shows Sunday morning to promote the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the House Republican bill for the repeal and replacement of Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare.

The Republican proposal builds on the core features of Obamacare, designed to boost the profits of the private insurers and slash health care costs for the government and big business.

The ACHA seeks to strengthen the grip of the for-profit health care delivery system in America while making sweeping cuts to Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor jointly funded by the federal government and the states. It also slashes financial assistance to low-income people seeking to purchase health coverage and cuts taxes for the wealthy and big business by an estimated $600 billion.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to release its numbers on the Republican plan today. The Brookings Institution on Thursday predicted that the CBO’s analysis will likely find that at least 15 million people stand to lose coverage under the AHCA by the end of the 10-year scoring window.

In a prerecorded interview aired on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price attempted to evade moderator Chuck Todd’s question: “Can you say for certain that once this bill is passed nobody, nobody will be worse off financially when it comes to paying for health care?”

Price answered by pointing to the high premiums under Obamacare and the fact that patients are forgoing health care as a result of high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. The HHS secretary, a rabid opponent of Medicaid, Medicare and government “intrusion” into health care, knows full well the Republican plan will make the situation for millions of working people, as bad as it is under Obamacare, even worse.

Todd pointed to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) estimate that the $4,000 tax credit that a 60-year-old in Fayette County, West Virginia would get under the AHCA “is almost $8,000 less than they would get under Obamacare.” Price brushed this off, defending the Republican plan’s tax credits, which would provide from $2,000 to $4,000 to those making up to $75,000, based purely on age and not income, with older people receiving the most.

A KFF analysis has found that for virtually every age group of individuals with incomes of $20,000-$40,000 and families making $40,000-$75,000, tax credits would be substantially lower under the ACHA than the subsidies provided under Obamacare.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney appeared on ABC’s “This Week” program. Host George Stephanopoulos raised that independent analysts had projected that there will be about “$370 billion less in federal funding for Medicaid over the next 10 years” under the AHCA. He asked how this squared with Trump’s promises during his presidential bid that there would be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

The OMB director defended the Medicaid funding cuts, saying, “The Medicaid system as it exists today is a one-size fits-all system. We fixed that. You can provide better services for less if we get the federal government out of the way.”…

[read more here]

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2 Responses

  1. Regarding federal programs that help average people, politicians always talk about the “cost” to the U.S. government. Politicians say we must cut social programs in order to “save money” for the U.S. government. This is a ridiculous lie. It’s like claiming that it “costs” a sports scoreboard when we add points by changing the numbers, and that we must “save points” for the scoreboard.

    If you could legally create money out of thin air by changing the numbers in your bank account, as often as you wished, would you worry about “costs”? Would you need to “save” money, or borrow money, or have an income in money (e.g. tax revenue)? No, no, no and no. And yet the masses continue to believe the lies. That’s why they are poor. It’s why they suffer.

  2. Didn’t you hear, Elizabeth? Generosity costs more than looting public services, and you better believe it, or else. Don’t you dare get all uppity and demand some actual compassion from the money changers! Poor Yellen won’t be able to rent multiple homes in the Hamptons if economic and monetary policy benefits ordinary people like you. Gotta keep feeding the Empire and its multibillionaire overlords.

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