Medical care rests on lawmakers
IT IS tempting to think that the Republican healthcare proposal, which would do so much damage to so many Americans, will collapse in the Senate, as conservatives and centrists alike have come out against it. But that would be premature. After all, House leaders managed to cobble together a narrow majority for their bill after similar protests in that chamber.
At least some of the Senate opposition to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s opening bid in the healthcare wars is mere political theatre.
Far-right senators who are protesting that the bill does not do enough to get rid of the dreaded Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, are almost certainly posturing.
These lawmakers want to be seen as making the bill more extreme to burnish their conservative bona fides.
But they don’t want to be blamed for blocking legislation that by any objective analysis achieves the Republican goal of destroying the Affordable Care Act and more.
It would greatly weaken Medicaid, a programme that many in the party have long despised. And it would leave more people uninsured than if Congress repealed Obamacare without putting anything in its place, according to a recent analysis by the Urban Institute.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the legislation will take health insurance away from 22 million people by 2026, including 15 million who will be kicked off Medicaid.
This all-out effort to sway votes is all the more shameful given how unpopular the bill is with Americans.
Just 17% of the country approves of the legislation, according to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.
By contrast, about 63% say Congress should either leave the Affordable Care Act untouched or change it so that it does more.
Some senators are surely eager to make a deal and will accept whatever McConnell offers them.
But conscientious lawmakers who care about the healthcare of millions of Americans should know that tinkering around the edges will not make this bill any less dreadful or any more deserving of their vote. – The New York Times