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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
The Bright Side of GOP Suicidal Health Insurance [Tax Cut] Bill
Just a Wee Bit About the GOP Health Insurance Bill
Take your choice - House version or Senate version.
As a Republican Congressman, you understand that your "political career" really counts on being re-elected. The fundamental concept of representative government means that this "getting re-elected" business is based on pleasing these voters of yours. Now, even before Trump and his cronies started the American Health Care Act, the US House of Representatives and the US Senate were already enjoying a 21% job approval rating [GALLUP],
The House version of the GOP health insurance bill managed to eek out a 12%-17% approval rating. Approval of the blatantly horrible Senate bill will, most likely, be slightly less.
Now, back to "suicidal." Pretend that you're a Republican House of Senate member. Your Party's President is polling a roughly 30% approval rating.
Why are you doing this? More importantly, why are you in such a rush to do this? We'll need just a couple of details to make sense out of this.
By this time we have realized that these horrible "legislative efforts" have almost nothing to do with health care -- both of them are unimaginably huge tax cut schemes. The "big picture" is a confusing one which invites all sorts of mis-perceptions as Americans try to maneuver through the domestic media's twisted account. In order to keep this part of the post short, we can approach this by the numbers.
1. The ACA is "falling apart" -- as Trump has taken great pains to repeat over and over -- because the insurance corporations are running from the ACA "exchange plan." The reason the corporations are in full flight is because the Republicans in the Senate fatally injured what is called the "risk corridor" in their latest budget bill.
The "risk corridor" was a mechanism in the ACA to reimburse the insurance corporations for money they would lose from the ACA's requirement that health insurance HAD to be "guaranteed issue," that is, HAD to be available to everyone regardless of old age, poor health or simple poverty. The authors of the ACA knew that lots of expensive insurance "clients" would flock to get ACA coverage, and that this would cost the corporations a lot of money.
Senate Republicans stiffed these corporations in the GOP budget bill, allocating only around ten cents on the dollar of what had been agreed upon earlier. The insurance corporations, staring at huge losses in insuring these "expensive" clients, closed up shop.
THIS is what Trump and the mind fogged GOP Senators are talking about every time they make the point that "ObamaCare is failing."
2. The ACA was passed in "reconciliation," that it, the ACA was budget neutral. Of course the ACA cost the government plenty of money, but the original bill included tax increases [i.e. 3% on capital gains which is how the very richest Americans "make" their money.] to generate the funds for the plan. The Republicans have ended almost all of these tax increases, leaving the ACA essentially unfunded.
The "revenue neutral" GOP "replacement" is entirely intended to reduce these taxes and ACA coverage costs to create a $10 Billion dollar reduction in the deficit. Insurance coverage available under the rules of the new GOP plan would be painfully lacking compared to the ACA's "guaranteed" coverage of all sorts previously insured conditions.
A major part of these "savings" would come from "limiting" the growth of Medicaid seven years "down the road." 40% of Americans get their health care from Medicaid. These are the people comprising the population in the CBO estimate that 22 million Americans would lose coverage.
The billionaires who own the Republican Party would receive almost all of the "deficit reduction savings" as tax cuts. "Limiting" Medicaid, in addition to several other multi-billion dollar reductions, should "free up" more than $10 Billion in direct "deficit reduction." [$100 Billion in savings over ten years] Senator McConnell is applying around $8 Billion of this to make the GOP bill "revenue neutral," while offering the remaining $2 Billion in legislative bribes which could lubricate his Senatorial attempts to get 50 votes.
The owners of the Republican Party will NOT settle for any less than $100 Billion in tax cuts in the next ten years.
THIS is why the Republican "health insurance" bill is, once the lipstick has been removed, a gigantic tax cut bill.
Of course plenty of the Republican looters in the Congress are not rich enough [Although most of them are, in fact, millionaires, they are "small potatoes" compared to the GOP's owners.] to really "reap the full benefits" of this scheme. So-o-o-o, it's only to be expected that they "need" to grease their own palms with whatever they can steal in the meantime.
Take a look at the following DailyKOS article -- great reporting!
Who knew kicking 22 million people out of their health insurance could be so lucrative?
Just as the Republican bill to slash much of the Affordable Care Act moved forward, Rep. Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican and member of Speaker Paul Ryan’s leadership team, added a health insurance company to his portfolio.
An account owned by Conaway’s wife made two purchases of UnitedHealth stock, worth as much as $30,000, on March 24th, the day the legislation advanced in the House Rules Committee, according to disclosures.
Health care stocks have soared in recent weeks as insurance companies salivate over the prospect of gouging more Americans with inflated premiums and cuts in benefits. The Republicans have also promised to loosen the regulations that prohibit these same companies from denying coverage to whomever they choose, which promises to bump up the share price of conglomerates like United Health.
Conaway was not the only Republican cashing in on his plans for other people’s sickness and death:
As the health care system overhaul advanced last month on the other side of Capitol Hill, Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma purchased between $50,000 to $100,000 in UnitedHealth stock.
With the United States under Trump devolving into a Putin-esque kleptocracy, the stink of corruption has apparently become so normalized in Republican ranks that they’ve become completely desensitized to it. In Conaway’s case, however, enriching himself with insider information had already passed his personal smell test:
Conaway, who serves as a GOP deputy whip in the House, has a long record of investing in firms that coincide with his official duties. Politico reported that Conaway’s wife purchased stock in a nuclear firm just after Conaway sponsored a bill to deal with nuclear waste storage in his district. The firm stood to directly benefit from the legislation.
Making money off sick children and the elderly who your party plans to leave without any health care coverage represents a new low, even for a Texas Republican. However, the rest of his party (and some Democrats as well) have made every effort to help him along. In 2012 Congress made a big show of passing something called the STOCK act in an apparent attempt to curb insider trading among lawmakers and their staff. The bill was subsequently watered down and partially repealed, specifically those provisions which would have made congresspersons’ stock transactions accessible to the public. And when the Securities & Exchange Commission moved forward with its first investigation of alleged violations of the act, the Republican-led Congress filed a brief with the SEC claiming the act could not be applied.
New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz explains why Conaway’s and Inhofe’s trading in individual stocks timed to coincide with legislation they are working behind closed doors to pass is not just “business as usual”:
It’s worth noting that, for the ordinary investor, it’s rarely wise to buy and sell individual stocks — as opposed to investing in mutual funds — unless one has access to special information. And given that the mere appearance of corruption has a corrosive effect on our republic, it’s difficult to understand why members of Congress don’t restrict their investments to such instruments.
But then, the Trump-era Republican Party has grown quite comfortable with complicity in manifest corruption — let alone with giving the appearance of it.
With the entire executive branch awash in graft from the top down, it’s simply become ridiculously easy for members of Congress like Conaway to blend in with their own petty corruptions, without being noticed.
And as for the “corrosive effect on our Republic,” well, that ship sailed last November.