GOP Obamacare Repeal is a Class War Weapon of Mass Destruction
Getting ready to drop the big one.
The big number everyone is talking about is 24 million. Or maybe it’s 14 million as of next year. And that is a big number. And what it represents is very important. Every single one of those 14 million people is someone who is one major illness away from bankruptcy. Or worse.
Republican math. And spelling.
But that’s only one half of the picture we need to paint and the story we need to tell because what makes this bill really cruel isn’t just that all those millions of people will no longer have healthcare, it’s why. We have to make sure we hammer home again and again why it is that an estimated five million people will be dropped from Medicaid and six million will no longer be able to get insurance through the exchanges. And why is that?
Well, it’s not to reduce the deficit as the CBO estimates that the Republican plan will cost us $353 billion MORE than keeping Obamacare. And it’s not to save us money on premiums, at least not anytime soon. Those are expected to jump by 20% in 2018 under the Republican plan. And while average premiums are projected to drop by 10 percent by 2026, that’s largely because sick and old people will have been “priced out of the market”—i.e. they will no longer be in the insurance pool. Or maybe even alive.
So why, oh why is it so vital to repeal Obamacare and make sure all those millions lose coverage? I wonder if this might be a reason:
The ACA has tax provisions that would generate $594 billion in revenue, and getting rid of those provisions would overwhelmingly benefit the most well-off. Indeed, the two main tax cuts—together costing $275 billion over 10 years—apply only to those making over $200,000 a year, with 80 percent of the tax savings going to those making over $1 million. Those in the top tenth of 1 percent would get an average tax cut of about $197,000, while the top 400 earners in the country—a group of individuals who average $300 million in annual income—would receive an average tax cut of $7 million each. It is hard to see why these supply-side priorities should take precedence over keeping in place the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.
Instead of giving healthcare to millions, let’s give millions to people with billions!
That’s right, folks. Tax cuts. Exclusively for those making more than $200,000 per year. And 80 percent of that going to people who make more than $1 million per year. Because they’re the ones who have truly suffered under Obamacare. The working poor give up the Medicaid expansion and the working class have to give up subsidies for the exchanges to the millionaires and billionaires can have even more of that sweet, sweet money. Because poor people are off irresponsibly buying iphones instead of paying for their chemotherapy.
This has been the Republican playbook for years. Budget cuts are never for cutting deficits or balancing budgets. Budget cuts are used to give away more and more money to the top 1%. And when you count up all the budget cuts and tax cuts they almost always match dollar for dollar. This is what class war has looked like since at least 2011 and probably longer. Slash funding in the name of fiscal responsibility then give it all away to the wealthy.
We progressives need to call this out for what it is—a weapon of mass destruction in the class war. We need to say to each person who loses their coverage, “Hey, the GOP took the cost of your plan and gave it to a millionaire. How do you feel about that?” We can’t be timid about it or shy away from it.
And we also can’t be shy about pushing our own fixes to the problems that still remain with the health care system. For far too long we got killed on this issue because we were stuck simply defending Obamacare and failing to acknowledge that there ARE problems and we need to do better. I watched a town hall from McDowell County, WV last night where a community that went for Trump 3 to 1 burst into loud applause for universal healthcare as a right! We can gripe all we want about how Obamacare is “closer” to that than the Republican alternative until we are blue in the face but it was Trump promising to “cover everybody” while our side was pretending Obamacare had already solved all of our problems. We weren’t even pushing for a public option anymore, yet alone universal healthcare! If we had been, we probably would have done a lot better.
So let’s call this Republican bill what it really is—a class warfare bill aimed at enriching the already wealthy at the cost of the downtrodden. And let’s boldly fight for the kind of continuing health care reform that will truly fix that which still ails us.
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