The Senate version of the American Health Care Act was released today and it is as much of a nightmare as I thought it would be.
The bill is a fully fledged attack on the nation’s poor, destroying Medicaid as we currently know it and ending the individual mandate requiring that everyone purchase health insurance or pay a fine. The former was enacted in the 1960s as part of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society initiative to ensure that folks who couldn’t financially afford insurance can get coverage. The latter was instituted as part of the Affordable Care Act to stabilize the insurance markets and make sure that costs stay low.
Both would be blown up for nothing more than a massive redistribution of wealth: nearly $1 trillion dollars would be moved into the pockets of America’s richest families. The Democrats, for procedural reasons, seem powerless to stop this bill’s advance if it should be approved by their Republican counterparts. And the images of sick children and people getting ripped out of wheelchairs and arrested has done nothing to soften the hearts of Mitch McConnell and Company.
The bill goes to further lengths to defund Planned Parenthood than many other efforts before it. It attacks women and minorities, two groups that the GOP is loathe to care for, and furthers the privatization of services that should fall under public purview.
If they’re doing this under the guise of economics, the lawmakers can look no further than Kansas, which is a state that is as conservative as it gets, and whose lawmakers cut taxes to the bone and then raised them again over the objection of the governor. Trickle down economics is a complete farce and only leads to austerity of government services and income inequality that operates at dangerous levels.