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The Cruel Radicalism of Cassidy-Graham


Cassidy-Graham, an extraordinarily bad and dishonest legislative proposal that might pass the Senate next week, managed to acquire a certain veneer of moderation. The con has three major steps. First, Cassidy also had proposed legislation with the closest the Republican conference has to an actual moderate, which while bad was not nearly this bad. Second, both Graham and Cassidy have unearned reputation as moderates, which in Cassidy’s case was earned specifically through fake-moderation on healthcare policy. (The “Jimmy Kimmel test” was Cassidy’s phrase, not Kimmel’s.) And, third, C-G’s assault on access to health insurance is a little bit more subtle than, say, AHCA. “Federalism” must be the greatest con in the history of American political discourse — it’s essentially impossible for an argument about SENDING THE ISSUE BACK TO THE STATES to be made in obvious enough bad faith for some people not to take it seriously.

But make no mistake — Cassidy-Graham might be the very worst of the unspeakably awful ACA repeal plans:

I have spent the bulk of 2017 writing about the different Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Graham-Cassidy, in my view, is the most radical of them all.

While other Republican plans essentially create a poorly funded version of the Affordable Care Act, Graham-Cassidy blows it up. The bill offered by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy takes money from states that did a good job getting residents covered under Obamacare and gives it to states that did not. It eliminates an expansion of the Medicaid program that covers millions of Americans in favor of block grants. States aren’t required to use the money to get people covered or to help subsidize low- and middle-income earners, as Obamacare does now.

Plus, the bill includes other drastic changes that appeared in some previous bills. Insurers in the private marketplace would be allowed to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, for example. And it would eliminate the individual mandate as other bills would have, but this time there is no replacement. Most analysts agree that would inject chaos into the individual market.

Taken together, these components add up to a sweeping proposal sure to upend the American health care system. Because the Senate hasn’t seen an independent analysis yet from the Congressional Budget Office, I can’t even say for sure how sweeping, and neither can any of the Republicans who have come out in support of it.

And as Kilff notes, the way Cassidy has tried to reconcile his bullshit reputation for moderation with proposing what would be one of the worst bill ever passed by the United States Congress is by relentlessly saying things about it that aren’t true — and whether he’s willfully lying or too dumb/ignorant to understand what his proposal does is a distinction with no difference whatsover. I only wish I thought our mainstream political press would react to this legislation like Kimmel did.

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