‘Repeal and Go Fuck Yourself’ Is in Full Effect
The Graham-Cassidy bill is earning the nickname.
Lindsey Graham has really good healthcare that he definitely won’t lose, even if the moral catastrophe he’s calling a “reform” bill passes the Senate. Graham has cosponsored an Obamacare Repeal and Replace Plan with the impressively mendacious Bill Cassidy and two other Republican heartthrobs. It is somehow worse than the previous plans.
The bill would usher a number of shocking cruelties into law, not least the possibility that as many as 32 million Americans could lose health coverage. That’s 10 percent of the population.
We don’t know for sure because Republicans are trying to force the bill through the Senate before its effects can be assessed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The bill is full of fun surprises, like the loophole it creates allowing insurers to deny people coverage for a series of basic medical treatments, including:
- Pregnancy and maternity care
- Prescription drugs
- Mental health services
- Reproductive health services, including birth control
- Substance abuse treatment
These were among the 10 “Essential Benefits” that the Affordable Care Act mandated insurance companies had to provide to people who bought their insurance policies. That approach was based on the idea that people’s medical needs might include emergency room visits or prescription drugs, and that insurance companies shouldn’t be able to deny them coverage for things they might actually use. This concept is apparently unacceptable to Republicans—or at least to the donors paying their campaign bills. We can assume Republicans will just wish the millions of Americans suffering in the opioid epidemic the best of luck.
One estimate from the left-leaning Commonwealth Fund on Wednesday projected 15 to 18 million would lose insurance by next year, with 32 million off the rolls by 2026. Because Graham-Cassidy will, like the earlier bills, repeal the individual mandate, premiums could spike as much as 15 to 20 percent. Even if these constitute the worst-case scenario, the mediocre case wouldn’t be pretty. It would leave fewer Americans insured, and the ones still on the rolls could be paying more for patchy coverage that might not even have their back when their baby is born.
Actual doctors are almost unanimous in their opposition to this bill. As The Atlantic tells us, it’s very rare for physicians to agree as strongly on anything as they do on the belief that the Graham-Cassidy bill is absolute trash.
So why is Lindsey Graham, a Senate veteran normally known for shoveling money towards defense contractors, putting his neck out on this bill? Why are any of his colleagues giving it a moment’s consideration? It’s hard to say for sure. Certainly, Republicans are desperate to complete the final act of their grand, seven-year-long piece of performance art known as Repeal and Replace Obamacare. Having run on that magic incantation for four straight election cycles, they feel they must deliver for The Base—particularly the members eager to strike Barack Obama’s name from every history book for some reason.
But the real reason this bill has a chance is money. It is not merely the fact that the bill’s savage cuts to health coverage for some of the most vulnerable among us—the youngest, the oldest, the sickest, the poorest—open up billions of dollars of budget savings, which Republicans then plan to use in their grand attempt at tax reform. It’s that the real owners of the party, the donors and the fat cats, have demanded it. At least, that’s the intel The Guardian dug up at a Koch Brothers megadonor conference in June. The “piggy bank” holding a cascade of cash, much of it set to be filtered through dark money operations into Republican campaign coffers and the Super PACs that abet them, are closed until the rich guys get their tax cut.