Republicans are so desperate to get Donald Trump a legislative victory that they're ready to throw themselves into a dumpster fire of a bill that is so toxic, even Trump doesn't like it. Although the Senate Trumpcare bill has many other problems, there are two in particular that these people just can't get away from.
The first is that the healthcare repeal bill is going to throw tens of millions of people off of their healthcare. The Senate hoped to hide some of that effect from the CBO by delaying the most drastic cuts until after the ten-year budget window that the CBO typically examines. Unfortunately, the CBO isn't falling for this One Weird Trick:
The second is that the cruelest of these cuts aren't being done for any other reason than to deliver a massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans. Trump Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price ran smack into that one on Sunday's edition of CNN's State of the Union. Host Dana Bash repeatedly asked Price to reveal how much money he personally stood to gain from the Trumpcare tax cuts, and Price simply refused to answer:
BASH: So, what's the answer? How much would you save under the House and Senate bills?
PRICE: Well, remember that Obamacare taxes were put in place to build a whole new government program, government-run health care.
What — when — when you back out of that, when you make it so that you have got a patient-centered system, where patients and families and doctors are running health care, and not the federal government, then that of — of necessity allows you to do so with not as much money.
And so we believe it's absolutely vital that we decrease taxes for the American people, allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money.
Dana, did you — did you appreciate — and I don't know if your listeners do. There's 6.5 million Americans right now who are paying $3 billion in penalties, in taxes...
PRICE: ... just for the privilege of not purchasing health care coverage?
BASH: And I under...
PRICE: Could you imagine that? That is a system that isn't working for those 6.5 million. How about lowering the taxes for those 6.5 million?
BASH: And I understand that. But the question now is, when it comes to the bill that is before the United States Senate, the fact of the matter is, people like you are going to get a tax cut.
Price's estimated net worth is $13.6 million, but his annual salary is almost certainly in excess of the $200,000 that the Tax Policy Center says would net him a cool $5,640.00 even before he makes any “lucky” stock trades. Is he supposed to just give that up so your lazy kid can get cancer treatments?
Price also fails to explain how people now paying the Obamacare penalty are going to be enticed into buying health insurance at higher premiums, with less-generous subsidies, in an insurance market that Trumpcare will destabilize.
He does, however, further reveal the Republican theory behind cruel cuts, that spending less on health care will magically produce results “of necessity.” Unfortunately, those results will be thousands of more Americans dying while Tom Price spends his tax cut.
This is a commentary piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.