Hospitals, doctors and other health care providers have been blasting the Senate Republicans' health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare", since the legislation, crafted in secret, was finally unveiled on Thursday. It has not aged well in the past 24 hours. That's for very good reason, as my guest today, IGOR VOLSKY, health care reform advocate, a Vice President at the Center for American Progress, and co-host of the Thinking CAP podcast explains in detail.
Volsky, who we last spoke with during the Democrats' fight to enact Obamacare back in 2009 and 2010, explains how the GOP plan's cuts and restructuring of both the ACA's Medicaid expansion and the traditional, 52-year old Medicaid program will stifle or end medical care for massive numbers of children and elderly, not to mention the poor.
"Medicaid is a program that covers 74 million Americans," says Volsky. "It's not just lower income Americans — who we usually, I think, think of when we talk about Medicaid — 49% of all births are covered by Medicaid. 64% of all nursing home residents have Medicaid coverage. 76% of poor children, 39% of all children. So you're really talking 20% of Americans rely on Medicaid. The House bill cuts it by about $834 billion. The Senate bill is even worse. Because not only do they go after [Obamacare's] Medicaid expansion, but they also cap the [traditional Medicaid] program and change the way its funded by the federal government."
"It's really going after lower-income and middle-income Americans in a way that we've never seen before," he tells me. "They want to push those folks into private insurance. That's really the end goal — to drown the program over time in the bathtub entirely."
But the GOP's scheme will also adversely affect those who receive health insurance via the Obamacare exchanges as well as via employers, while giving massive tax cuts to a tiny handful of very wealthy families in exchange.
"My favorite statistic is that for the 400 richest tax filers, they get a tax cut totaling — are you ready for this?— 2.8 billion dollars," Volsky explains. "You look at this bill, and it looks like Republicans don't think they'll ever have to face a fair election ever again." Hmmm…
We also discuss what you can do to help derail this deadly plan (among those things, call your Senators and otherwise check out the Center's TrumpCareToolkit.org for more info), and which Republican Senators may be in a position to block the scheme together.
Finally then, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with a bunch of news related to Trump's super-genius Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry and much more…