By Doug Porter
The battle over #TrumpDontCare, or as the Club for Growth is now calling it, #RyanCare is coming to a head.
Congressman Darrell Issa has been named as one of ten legislators targeted by the conservative anti-tax group in a $500,000 TV and digital ad buy urging opposition to the administration’s health care bill. They don’t like the bill because it doesn’t include enough ‘freedom,’ which is code for screwing the not-as-wealthy.
On the other side of the fence, Indivisible and associated groups opposing repeal of the Affordable Care Act are regularly picketing Issa’s Vista office. Tuesday’s action included 400 people, along with a “die in” on the lawn nearby, with signs shaped like tombstones and messages on how the Republican plan will cost lives.
Faith leaders, medical professionals, and activists will gather on Wednesday at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Hillcrest for a “Call to the Conscience of Congress” on the eve of the vote in the House of Representatives on the draconian American Health Care Act.
Their call to action points out:
This immoral legislation would deny health care to 24 million Americans, primarily the poor, the old, the sick and the disabled. It will be a death sentence for 24,000 Americans per year and condemn millions of others to suffer without mercy.
The Center for American Progress now estimates the GOP measure will eliminate 1.8 million jobs by 2022 due to cuts to Medicaid and health insurance subsidies.
The Trump administration has larded the bill with last-minute revisions hoping to woo wary GOP lawmakers. Far-right types hate the bill because it doesn’t simply abolish the current system. Others (it’s getting harder to call any Republican a moderate these days) are responding to constituent concerns about costs and coverage.
For moderate and centrist Republicans, it would set aside funding — about $85 billion, according to Republican sources — for tax credits to help Americans between 50 and 64, who would see their premiums skyrocket under the current repeal plan. The amendment would not set up the tax credits but would instruct the Senate to do so, forcing House Republicans to take a vote on something the upper chamber would do later. It would be paid for by allowing consumers to write off less medical debt…
…It also includes some red meat for the right. Two of the changes, first reported on Friday, were essential to winning over the support of the Republican Study Committee. Trump met with leaders of the conservative group last week and agreed to allow work requirements in Medicaid as well as to give states the option of converting their Medicaid programs into block grants. Both concessions were heralded by conservatives as necessary modifications to the health entitlement and long-term wins. Some states sought work-requirement approval under the Obama administration but were rebuffed by federal officials.
The amendment would also repeal about a dozen Obamacare taxes a year earlier than originally planned, a win for conservatives who want to eliminate the Affordable Care Act as quickly as possible. It would also delay the implementation of the Cadillac tax again, this time from 2025 to 2026.
The administration sent its heavy hitters to Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning, including the President, along with senior adviser Steven K. Bannon, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller.
Trump called out North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, warning him and others “I’m gonna come after you, but I know I won’t have to, because I know you’ll vote ‘yes.”
Inside the room, however, Trump did not get into much detail about what needed to be adjusted for the bill to win approval. He focused more on the political risks and rewards of passage, telling Republicans that they “kept passing and passing and passing” repeal bills under President Obama and would be punished if they did not make good on their campaign promises.
“We won’t have these crowds if we don’t get this done,” he said, referring to his Monday night rally in Kentucky.
“If we get this done, and tax reform, he believes we pick up 10 seats in the Senate and we add to our majority in the House,” said Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), the first member of Congress who endorsed Trump’s presidential bid. “If we don’t get it done, we lose the House and the Senate.”
Ezra Klein at Vox thinks the bill will be a disaster for the GOP:
So what happens when voters realize their new tax credit doesn’t cover anything close to the insurance they had? What happens when they find themselves with fewer choices, paying much higher premiums after their smaller subsidies, and being told by insurers that costs are doubling because Republicans changed how much more the old could be charged than the young?
Voters will notice all this. And what are Republicans going to say then? That it’s all Barack Obama’s fault? That high deductibles are actually good, they just forgot to mention it? That they needed something they could pass quickly so they could move on to tax reform?
This bill has always seemed like an answer to the question, “What can we pass that would count as repealing and replacing Obamacare?” But that’s not the right question. The right question is, “What can we pass that will actually make people’s lives better?” Given the truncated, fearful process Republicans have retreated behind, I’m not persuaded even they believe this bill is the answer.
On Thursday, the 7th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the full House of Representatives will be asked to vote on the measure. The vote is expected to be very close. Twenty-two Republicans will have to vote ‘no’ in order for it fail. As of this morning, there are 17 members openly opposing its passage.
House approval (or not) won’t end the uphill road for the GOP’s health care schemes, and it won’t end continuing activism aimed at local congressional members.
On Friday (March 24), Rep. Darrell Issa is attending a dinner with the Vista Chamber of Commerce (Shadowridge Golf Club, 1980 Gateway Drive, Vista). He’ll have to cross a picket line to get in.
Both State and Federal lawmakers are hosting a Healthcare Town Hall at UCSD (Price Center) on Saturday (March 25) at 9:30am. Speaking will be Assemblymember Todd Gloria, State Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez, O.D. (Chairman of the Senate Health Committee), State Senator Toni G. Atkins, and Congresswoman Susan Davis.
Here’s an early preview of the Club for Growth ad, to be modified to include Issa’s name before airing locally.
PS-– Lest anybody think I’m ignoring what had to be Trump’s worst day ever on Monday, there will be a report in this space on Wednesday, complete with (ta-da!) San Diego connections to the Trump-Russia story.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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