Cassidy-Graham is Hazardous to America’s Health and Bank Account

The Senate Republican leadership is at it again, filling a sewer pipe with perfume to convince us it’s pretty, and doesn’t stink. Rural Americans are too smart to be fooled by the latest attempt to repeal, but not replace, the Affordable Care Act. The question is will a few Republicans be smart enough to see through the scam and do the right thing by voting no?

The Cassidy-Graham bill in the Senate will see unaccountable billions of dollars pour into states like Florida and Pennsylvania, at the cost of states like Alaska, Arizona, Kentucky, Maine (and most of the Deep South, Midwest and Far West). These states wouldn’t even have to spend the federal block grant money on health insurance for its residents under the scheme cooked up by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), with the help of Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI).

This bill is so wretched that protections for people with pre-existing conditions will be gutted, and coverage will be whittled down to the point where Americans would have limited benefits at a much higher cost. Rural Americans who finally had affordable health care thanks to Medicaid expansion under Obamacare will be left with little choice but to have no health coverage at all.

Even Wall Street analysts conclude Cassidy-Graham will disrupt the marketplace and leave states without necessary financial resources. That means states will either have to slash more than just health care services, or raise taxes to make up for the federal shortfall.

The Congressional Budget Office is currently analyzing the impact of Cassidy-Graham, but indications are that its scorecard will show the bill is in the neighborhood of the previous repeal-without-replace estimates: 32 million Americans left without health insurance, including 15 million next year alone; and a 20 percent hike in premiums for less health coverage.

Why the rush to beat the Sept. 30 deadline for passing the bill with so much opposition to the repeal effort, including from a majority of Americans? Because once again this bill contains within it the means for a nearly $1 trillion tax cut for the rich, with Rural States being left out in the cold without a blanket. That is really all the GOP leadership cares about: repaying the lobbyists and fat-cat donors who finance their campaigns.

It’s no surprise then that Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is trying to steamroll a repeal-without-replace bill though the Senate without proper procedure and review in the public eye. That doesn’t sit well with maverick Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who thinks that if the bill is so good then why try to hide from the American people?

The GOP is scrambling to avoid another “thumbs down” from McCain. In an attempt to kiss up to McCain, Republicans came up with a stunt hearing for the bill in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. This committee doesn’t even have jurisdiction over the bill, but since it’s chaired by one of the sponsors of the measure, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), it’s a safe place to ram it through. It’s like holding a hearing for a farm bill in the Senate Intelligence Committee. There’s a clear stench rising from that move.

Trump is suddenly onboard with Cassidy-Graham, after he urged Republicans to move on from repeal and replace earlier this month. Let this be a warning to anyone who thinks Trump has had a real change of heart just because he reached a deal with Democrats to keep the government open; avoid Washington defaulting on its loans; and making a small down payment on hurricane relief.

Trump is simply looking for another win, and if he can get it this time with Republicans — almost immediately after making a bargain with Democrats, he and his message machine will trumpet far and wide his “bipartisan administration.” Any Democrat or Republican who believes that, probably thinks a sewer pipe filled with perfume smells just fine.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply