Zombie Trumpcare has risen from the dead. On Wednesday night, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy informed reporters that he believed the GOP’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) had finally secured the 216 votes necessary for the bill to pass the House and move on to the Senate, where it will likely be shot down.
An AHCA House vote is expected sometime Thursday.
The AHCA is, of course, not without controversy. Its MacArthur Meadows Amendment would allow states to abolish Obamacare protections preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to patients with preexisting conditions, ranging from asthma, diabetes, and pregnancy to postpartum depression and, yes, even sexual assault. If that weren’t enough, as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes noted, “The bill cuts about a trillion dollars in funding for health care while cutting taxes for the top 2 percent by about the same amount.” Yikes.
“Over in the House, Republicans were frantically racing to cobble together the votes for their latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare,” said Seth Meyers on Wednesday night.
Meyers dedicated his latest Late Night “A Closer Look” segment to the health care battle in Congress. As the comedian noted, President Trump seems particularly motivated to push through his health care bill because he “hasn’t been able to get any of his major legislative priorities through a Congress controlled by his own party.”
Of course, Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican-controlled Congress had seven whole years to come up with a decent plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, but their idea well appears to be completely dry. “The whole thing is like the suitcase of a kid who says he’s running away from home: It looks like he has a plan, but if you open that suitcase up, all you’re going to find are some loose Legos and a sleeve of Ritz crackers.”
“So now, in a scramble to come up with something—anything—that would pass, Trump and the GOP have actually made the bill even worse to appeal to hardline conservatives,” Meyers continued. “This new bill would allow states to waive out of Obamacare’s ban on preexisting conditions.”
A recent study by the Center for American Progress found that Trumpcare would increase insurance premiums for people with preexisting conditions by staggering amounts, including $4,270 for those with asthma; $5,510 for people with diabetes; and pregnancy by $17,060. Trump, as is his wont, claimed falsely that the GOP’s new health care bill guarantees coverage for preexisting conditions, which it does not.
This led Meyers to draw a disturbing conclusion about the Republican Party with respect to health care: “As muddled as the GOP message is on health care, I do think there’s one theme that is starting to come through clearly: You see, part of the problem for Republicans is that they’re trying to hide a core truth about their bill—as well as a core truth about Republican ideology—which is that they simply don’t think it’s government’s job to ensure that people get affordable health care. Normally they don’t admit that openly, but on Monday, Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks, a hardline conservative, admitted in a moment of honesty that he has no problem with people with preexisting conditions paying more for their health insurance.”
Cue Rep. Brooks: “My understanding is that [AHCA] will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”
“People who ‘lead good lives’? So what does that mean? People who are sick lead ‘bad’ lives?” asked an incredulous Meyers. “If that were really how it worked, Donald Trump would have died three years before he was born.”