Representatives in marginal districts who are enabling Donald Trump so they can continue with their work of trying to pass awful legislation — most notably, their effort to take health insurance from 24 million people to pay for an upper-class tax cut — are trying to defend themselves. Elise Stefanik, who will be representing New York’s 21st district until January 2019, has many spicy meatballs quoted here (with some good, more fact-based pushback), but this was particularly amazing:
Stefanik also addressed the issue of those on Medicaid potentially losing it under the GOP plan. “This is a false claim that is often reported in the media,” she wrote.
There would be no changes in Medicaid until 2020 and anyone currently on the program would maintain coverage, she said. As one of 31 states to expand Medicaid to those just above the poverty line, New York would be free to keep its program. “Additionally, after 2020, tax credits will be made available for people to purchase high quality private insurance plans,” she wrote.
“In theory, states could make up for the $880 billion we’re cutting from Medicaid, so it’s not really a cut!” OK.
While we’re here, this piece about how critical the massive cut to Medicaid is to TrumpCare is really good:
A massive expansion of the Medicaid program was one of the key pillars of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, and the AHCA rolls it back in a sneaky way. That rollback will deprive millions of vulnerable people of health insurance on its own terms if the bill is ever enacted in its current form. But the AHCA actually goes even further with Medicaid cuts — enacting broad cuts to the program’s spending that compound over time, offsetting a massive package of tax cuts for the rich.
And while leading Republicans are claiming that you can somehow take $880 billion out of a program to provide health care to the poor, elderly, and disabled without harming patients’ interests, that seems extremely unlikely.
The larger truth is conservative politicians once had a sweeping vision of rolling back all of America’s big entitlement programs — Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security — to prevent population aging and rising health care costs from inexorably pushing the country toward bigger government and higher taxes. Under Donald Trump, that agenda has gotten far less attention, perhaps because he’s promised to protect Social Security and Medicare, or perhaps because of his emphasis on culture war and immigration politics.
But the effort to smuggle large Medicaid cuts into Obamacare repeal is real. And its failure or success as the Senate takes up Obamacare repeal will reveal if this is either the last gasp of a fading small-government crusade or the start of a welfare state rollback effort that will eventually expand to cover Medicare and Social Security as well.
The scale of the Medicaid cuts is why the bill Setfanik voted for would result in even fewer people being covered than just straight repeal of the ACA.
You know, it’s kind of amazing how much downward wealth distribution and regulation of business was in Obama’s neoliberal bailout of the health insurance industry.