I can’t leave them alone for a minute. The Republicans are trying again to kill Obamacare and a whole lot of people in the process.
One lesson of the Trump era in Washington is that Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare don’t fare well in sunlight. When these proposals are confined to internal brainstorming sessions and leadership conferences, they do O.K. But, once they are sent out into the world and exposed to proper scrutiny, they tend to shrivel up and die.
The latest G.O.P. effort, a piece of legislation put forward by Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, and Senator Bill Cassidy, of Louisiana, will hopefully meet this fate. But nobody should take that outcome for granted. Republican senators have until September 30th to enact health-care reform with just fifty-one votes—rather than sixty—so the Party leadership is looking to ram through the Graham-Cassidy bill before the American public realizes how awful it is.
Rushing the bill through this way is about the only way it could pass. Several previous Republican bills were doomed by the Congressional Budget Office, which issued analyses detailing how the plans would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose their health-insurance coverage. By waiting until last week to finalize their bill, Graham and Cassidy didn’t leave the C.B.O. enough time to do a proper scoring before a vote is taken. (On Monday, the C.B.O. said that it would try to produce a limited analysis by early next week.)
Despite this cynical maneuver, there is no ambiguity about the terms of the Graham-Cassidy bill. It would roll back the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, which has enabled about fourteen million Americans to obtain health-care coverage. Then it would subject the rest of Medicaid to substantial cuts by converting it to a block-grant program. By targeting the low-paid, the sick, and the infirm, the legislation would create hundreds of billions of dollars in budget savings; these could then be applied to Republican tax cuts aimed primarily at rich households and corporations.
The best part is that the GOP is fully aware of the load of deadly manure they’re shoveling, but they made a campaign promise to repeal Obamacare, and they’re gonna do it even if it kills somebody else.