Affordable Care Act — February 8, 2017 at 4:15 pm

We’ve held off repeal of the ACA — but the millionaires are getting restless


GOP still plans to replace insurance for 25 million with a ‘congratulations for your struggle’

You may not remember but Obamacare was supposed to be repealed by now.

“The reality is that the ground has shifted enormously in a very short time,” Topher Spiro, Vice President for Health Policy, told me. “Right after the election, Republicans vowed to have a repeal bill on Trump’s desk on Jan. 20. That timeline has already slipped, and is slipping even more as we speak. And each and every day that repeal is delayed is a small victory because it gives us more time to shine a spotlight on the problems and highlight the real people whose very lives are at stake.”

On Wednesday, Sean Spicer — the White House Press Secretary for at least a few more days — again reasserted that repeal could take a very long time because Trump doesn’t want to do it “quickly, as the Democrats did.”

Obviously, this is a lie, as Jonathan Cohn points out:

But it signals delay, as Trump himself recently — though he could easily reverse himself as he has about negotiating prescription drug prices or meeting Vladimir Putin.

On Capitol Hill, House conservatives seem to eager to get back to the original plan which was to get rid of the taxes on the rich that make expansion of coverage possible as quickly as they can. Because they know once that funding is gone, reform is dead.

CNN reports:

A House GOP aide involved in ongoing discussions told CNN that the strategy is being referred to as “Reconciliation Plus.” It refers to a budget reconciliation bill that would repeal Obamacare, plus additional measures that lawmakers can tack on in order to simultaneously “replace” what they roll back.

What will this “repeal with slight replacement” by March look like?

Typical GOP solutions like Health Savings Accounts, block granting Medicaid and high-risk pools. Solutions that do little to help the poor, will uninsure millions and leave the sickest dependent on failed experiments like high-risk pools that can only succeed with big increases in funding, not the cuts the GOP wants.

A savings account does you no good if you have nothing to fill it with. And there will be nothing because the millionaires and billionaires who fund the GOP want their tax breaks — pronto.

It’s unclear if the hurry in the House will be matched in the Senate, where there’s no clear consensus and Republicans can only lose two votes.

But let us never fail to note to cruelty of the GOP plans and the impossibility of living up to their false promises to offer better coverage with lower deductibles and lower premiums.

Have no doubt: Republicans are in a bind. They’ve promised repeal for years; their funders are eager to get back some of the two-thirds of a billion they’ve spent attacking the law with ads; and Trump’s promise of repealing it with “something terrific” have screwed up their plans of replacing immediately with “something Dickensian.”

The outrage from the public is already so fever-pitched that they’re inventing reasons to be scared of or skip town hall meetings and this is all occurring even before all the public is aware that the Affordable Care Act is Obamacare and Medicaid Expansion is a part of that.

So every day matters.

Eventually Democrats should start spending some ad money to make it clear that repeal will make every American’s health insurance weaker — regardless if you get it through your job or not — and will leave the sick, particularly those in their 50s and 60s, in a hopeless situation.

Our Amy Lynn Smith has been among those who have been working dutifully to make it clear how much the Affordable Care Act means to many of the 25 million or so Americans who have gained coverage because of it.

But perhaps no one has made the cruelty of the repeal forces more obvious than Ted Cruz who congratulated a woman with MS on her “struggles” before explaining why he wants to uninsure her: