A little over a month into his tumultuous presidency, President Donald Trump’s administration finally unveiled its replacement plan for Obamacare. If former President Barack Obama’s health care initiative is repealed, millions of low-income Americans will be left uninsured.
As expected, the American Health Care Act, aka Trumpcare, has more than a few shortcomings.
For starters, the bill has a provision to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding in form of Medicaid reimbursements, which falls perfectly in line with the Republican Party’s longtime agenda to defund the nonprofit health care provider.
Secondly, if approved, the act would hit older low-income people the hardest. Moreover, unlike the Affordable Care Act, the “continuous coverage” provision in the replacement will require people who go without insurance for a certain period to pay a fine.
Overall, Trump’s replacement plan is quite controversial, so much so that even some of the Republicans are not onboard with it.
For some of them, it is too conservative.
For others, it is not conservative enough.
Shortly after the House Republicans revealed their plan to undo Obamacare, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner and Arkansas Sen. Lisa Murkowski sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressing their concern the bill had gone too far.
“Medicaid covers more than 72 million Americans and is the core of the health care safety net for individuals across the country. The Affordable Care Act destabilized the private insurance market and created an unsustainable path for both the states and the federal government in Medicaid,” read the letter. “While we support efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and make structural reforms to the Medicaid program, we are concerned that the Feb. 10th draft proposal from the House of Representatives does not provide stability and certainty for individuals and families in Medicaid expansion programs or the necessary flexibility for states.”
The senators made it clear that although they believe Medicaid needs to be reformed, they do not think it should be done at the cost “of disruption in access to health care for our country’s most vulnerable and sickest individual.”
“We will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states,” they concluded.
On the other hand, there are those who believe Trump administration’s health care plan is too similar to the one introduced by Obama.
Since the new proposal extends Medicaid expansion for three years, some Republicans are worried it would “worsen” the federal budget. These people are of opinion the government should not pay for the health coverage of some 11 million Americans — the very people who they are supposed to serve — who can no longer afford health insurance.
The Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group of 170 House GOP members, sent out a memo blasting Trumpcare.
“This is a Republican welfare entitlement,” it read. “Writing checks to individuals to purchase insurance is, in principle, Obamacare. It does allow more choices for individuals, and is more patient-centered, but is fundamentally grounded on the idea that the federal government should fund insurance purchases.”
Several House Republicans took to Twitter to slam the proposal.
Obamacare 2.0 https://t.co/p0zKkMD3UT— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 6, 2017
Th House leadership plan is Obamacare Lite. It will not pass. Conservarives are not going to take it. #FullRepeal— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 7, 2017
The House leadership Obamacare Lite plan has many problems. We should be stopping mandates, taxes and entitlements not keeping them.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 7, 2017
If all Democrats vote against the bill, the GOP can afford to lose no more than 21 votes.
Oh, just in case you had any doubts about the infighting among the Republicans, here is President Trump trying to clear it up:
Don't let the FAKE NEWS tell you that there is big infighting in the Trump Admin. We are getting along great, and getting major things done!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2017
Yep, just as believable as Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying he had no contacts with Russian officials when asked about Trump campaign’s ties.
Definitely not suspicious.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Mike Blake