2016, Affordable Care Act — March 18, 2015 at 10:28 pm

Republicans pick preventable death and debt over expanding health insurance



If there were actually a liberal Fox News, America would be messing itself over the GOP’s new budget proposal.

Relying on savage cuts to those who have been most brutalized by the Bush Recession, the new blueprint from House Republicans claims to make a huge dent in our long-term debt. But the proposal is so much less believable than Harry Potter fan fiction or the dialogue in 50 Shades of Grey that even a Republican “wonk” — who was certain that Mitt Romney was going to win with more than 300 electoral votes — is calling BS.

“It’s hard to see how the math works,” Jim Pethokoukis writes in The Week.

And he’s demonstrating his characteristic generosity to Republicans by calling it “math.”

The only honest thing about the House GOP’s budget is that it includes the GOP’s Obamacare replacement — nothing. It promises a replacement and allocates no funding for it, just as Republicans have been doing for half a decade now.

The 16 million Americans who’ve gained their coverage would lose it, leaving us back where we were pre-Obamacare when as many as 45,000 Americans died each year for lack of insurance. And that’s the good news.

The budget could actually double the number of uninsured Americans by turning Medicaid into “block grants.”

The Huffington Post‘s Jonathan Cohn explains:

In reality, these block grants are huge budget cuts by another name. States would find it impossible to maintain the Medicaid rolls at those funding levels, and start removing people from the program as a result. How many? Price’s budget doesn’t provide the same level of detail that Ryan’s early budgets did. But the proposals appear to be very similar. And an estimate of Ryan’s 2012 scheme, put together by researchers from the Urban Institute and published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, suggested that by 2022, turning Medicaid into a block grant would reduce the number of people receiving insurance through the program by between 14.3 million and 20.5 million.

If Democrats were proposing something that would wreck this kind of devastation on the American people, Fox News would be filled with a never ending flood of testimonials like the one Mother Jones‘ Kevin Drum — who was diagnosed with cancer last year — offered today:

If I lose my job, and Republicans repeal Obamacare, I will be left with a very serious and very expensive medical condition and no insurance to pay for it. And I feel quite certain that Republicans will do nothing to help me out.

We’d be hearing from families that feared what would happen to parents who can only afford nursing homes because of Medicaid and the millions of young parents who would instantly lose coverage.

Bloomberg‘s Jonathan Bernstein assures Drum that Republicans could never actually be cruel enough to strop millions of coverage if given the chance.

Bernstein is a brilliant commentator informed by a wealth of political science. But anyone who believes that a Republican who is elected in 2016 after the GOP’s endless promises of repeals won’t do everything he can to undo the law is not appropriately cynical. And if that happens, Fox News will run stories about all the lives being saved by freeing Americans from the burdens of health insurance.

If there were an actual liberal Fox News, we’d have a much better chance of preventing this from ever happening. Because we’d be hearing constantly how America is choosing death and debt over universal health care.

Today Americans pay twice the average cost per person for health care than the rest of the advanced world does and we’re the only advanced country that leaves tens of millions uninsured.

A liberal Fox News would cover every unnecessary death extensively — just as the four savage murders of Americans at the hands of ISIS have been covered by Fox. But if there were a liberal Fox, people would actually be afraid of a problem that has killed more than a handful of Americans.

Instead, most Americans aren’t even aware of the amazing advances we’ve made in expanding coverage while cutting $600 billion from our projected health costs — something economists would have never dared to predict a few years ago. And the more likely you are to support a reform, the less likely you are to know it’s actually in Obamacare.

We’ve made huge progress in one of our dumbest problems over the past five years and Republicans don’t just want to undo that promise. They want to make it worse.

And it’s scary how not terrified Americans are.

[Photo credit: William Melton Jr. / SEIU]