Let Them Eat Cake?

Over lunch yesterday, President Trump insisted Republican Senators should forgo vacation, and stay in the Capitol and work on a bill to replace Obamacare.

“People are hurting, and inaction is not an option,” Trump said in a statement. “We must repeal and replace this disaster. The Senate should not leave for summer recess until it has passed a plan to give our people great healthcare.”

Maybe the food sparked his resolve to have a replacement plan instead of just getting rid of Obamacare as he vowed earlier in the week.

As it is, some Republicans just don’t have a taste for it.

The numbers keep getting worse, no matter which way you slice it.

The Congressional Budget Office said, in a report released this evening, that repealing part of the Affordable Care Act legislation without a replacement option would result in 32 million more people uninsured, compared to current law, while doubling premiums in 2026.

Not only that, about half of the nation’s population would live in areas having no insurer participating in the non-group market in 2020 “because of downward pressure on enrollment and upward pressure on premiums,” the CBO said.  That would only increase to three-quarters of the population by 2026.

Those staggering numbers are offset in one governmental respect: the legislation would decrease deficits by $473 billion over the 2017-2026 period.

But the populace pays a price. Under the CBO estimate, those currently uninsured would increase by 17 million in 2018, compared to existing law, and then increase to 27 million in 2020.

That would happen after the elimination of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of eligibility for Medicaid, and the removal of subsidies for insurance purchased through the marketplaces established by the existing law, the CBO said.

The CBO isn’t exactly certain of its estimates, noting “the ways in which individuals, employers, states, insurers, doctors, hospitals and other affected parties would respond to the changes made by this legislation are all difficult to predict.”

The CBO score comes amid an already wild political week that saw a major GOP Senate health bill intended to repeal the Affordable Care Act collapse and reports of Sen. John McCain’s illness. ( McCain has aggressive brain cancer, glioblastoma. He had surgery to remove a blood clot over his left eye last week, McCain’s office said.)  In the meantime, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to vote on repealing Obamacare.

Trump, meanwhile, has flip-flopped, saying, on one hand, that he would let Obamacare die, and then insisting the GOP should work through their recess, and improve their own healthcare plan.

“Obamacare was a big lie,” Trump said. “You can keep your doctor -lie. You can keep your plan – lie.”

He calls Obamacare an “absolute disaster,” in part, because of so many insurance premium increases.

The latest CBO score is “nearly identical to estimates the CBO” made based on a bill that Obama had vetoed, according to The Washington Post.

In the meantime, Trump says, “I’m ready to act. I have pen in hand. I’ll sign the legislation into law, and then we can celebrate for the American people.”

 

— Joe Cantlupe

 

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