A Health Plan Implodes


hg_10-16_10-41It was nice to see the Republican health-care plan implode in late March.

Here are just some of the ways the GOP plan would have affected New York and the country:

●New York state would have been hit with a $3.7 billion hole in its health-care budget.

● Deep Medicaid cuts to New York City would have devastated NYC Health+Hospitals.

Some 200,000 residents who rely on the public health care system would have lost their health care. The loss of federal funds would have stuck NYC H+H with millions of dollars in annual deficits.

● Some 10 million people nationwide benefited from the Medicare expansion under the ACA. They would have lost their coverage.

The Medicare expansion was funded by taxes on the wealthy. The elimination of those taxes would have given the power elite a windfall of $350 billion over 10 years. All told, under the GOP plan the wealthy would have received more than $560 billion in tax savings.

● An estimated 24 million people across the country stood to lose their health-care coverage.

● Many retirees would have faced health-care premium increases of thousands of dollars.

The failure of the Republicans to pass the health-care bill reflected their political incompetence. After attacking the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) for seven years, they claimed that they were prepared to repeal and replace it.

The plan went down in flames in part because of deep divisions within the party. The failure is a great relief for the millions of people who received health coverage when the Affordable Care Act was implemented.

The law isn’t perfect. But neither were Social Security and Medicare in the immediate years following their approval. Many of people would like to see the Affordable Care Act morph into a Medicare-for-all plan, and others would simply like to tweak aspects of the program. We certainly don’t want to see it destroyed.

Grassroots action

I want to commend all of you who protested against the Republican plan by calling your representatives, taking part in social media campaigns and hitting the streets.

The Women’s March on Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration sent a powerful message to the U.S. House of Representatives that they should not dismantle the Affordable Care Act. So did the many congressional town hall meetings around the country in which people talked about how they would be dead were it not for the Affordable Care Act.

The GOP health-care plan exposed how the Republican takeover is bad news for working people. So, we still need to remain vigilant.

Our immediate concern is Trump’s proposed budget. It is consistent with the grand design of his strategic advisor, Steve Bannon, who talks about his desire to carry out the “deconstruction of the administrative state,” code words for blowing up government — its tax system, its agencies, its trade deals and its regulations.

Reflecting that agenda, the Trump budget calls for a cut of $13 billion (16 percent) at the federal Dept. of Human Services, $9 billion (14 percent) at the Dept. of Education, $2.6 billion (31 percent) at the Environmental Protection Agency and $6 billion (16 percent) at the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

And then there is Trump’s tax plan, which hasn’t yet been released but will surely benefit the 1 percent.

There are more turbulent waters ahead. Be prepared to fight back.

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