19:54 GMT19 January 2021
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    GOP Health Care Vote Delayed as Republican Senators Balk at Medicaid Cuts

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    Things fell apart quickly for Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the past 24 hours after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office announced that the Senate GOP health care scheme would result in 22 million Americans losing health care coverage by 2026, 15 million next year alone.

    As fellow Republicans balked at McConnell's "Better Care Reconciliation Act" bill, as written, he was forced to back away from his vow to hold a vote on the plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) this week. That vote, if it ever comes, will now wait until sometime after the July 4th recess and after more Senators have the chance to hear from constituents about the unpopular legislation.

    So, the deal making process begins to win 50 votes for passage, somehow, in the US Senate, as moderate Republicans like Sen. Susan Collins cited the legislation's massive cuts to Medicaid (which other Republicans spent the weekend pretending did not exist) as harmful to her constituents and, specifically, to already struggling rural hospitals in her home state of Maine.

    Joining us today to explain the nexus between Medicaid and the health of hospitals are health care reform analysts ALLEN DOBSON and RANDY HAUGHT of Dobson and DaVanzo & Associates. Their new study, published by the Commonwealth Fund, details huge disparities in the effects that the GOP health care plans to slash Medicaid and cut taxes for the wealthy will have on hospitals in Medicaid expansion v. non-expansion states and in urban and rural areas. They also explain how the GOP's attempted cuts to Medicaid will affect all Americans, not only those who directly receive benefits under the program.

    "Medicaid is absolutely critical to the survival of the hospital," Dobson explains, particularly in rural areas, as well as places where services were upgraded thanks to the expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare. If Medicaid is now cut under the GOP plans, "what you've done is you've weakened a hospital. A hospital that is sick financially is a hospital that is sick for everybody in the community. You're not just hurting Medicaid- you're not just hurting the Medicaid folks, the so-called 'poverty population', you're hurting everybody in the community, because when a hospital can't provide the quality care it would like to one guy, it can't provide it to the next guy, either."

    Dobson, a health economist (he explains what that means) and Haught, a thirty-year data analyst of health care reform legislation and regulations, also offer their thoughts on whether the proposed GOP plans in the House and Senate actually speak to any of the problems Republicans have long cited in regard to ObamaCare, such as claims that it kills jobs and harms the economy. Dobson explains why the ACA arguably helped the economy, and charges the GOP effort in the Senate "is hardly a healthcare bill" and "primarily about taxes, getting set up for a broader tax cut." Haught adds: "For actual health care, we don't see anything in [the GOP plans] that's going to improve the quality of care, nor the access to healthcare coverage."

    We also discuss whether a single payer "Medicare-for-All" style health care system is as feasible in the US as it is in other major developed countries, and why the US has yet to adopt such a system.

    All of this as Trump tried to rally Republican Senators at the White House today, and McConnell attempts to regroup his caucus in hopes of jamming through the GOP's long-promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act come hell, high water, or tens of millions of Americans who will no longer have health care coverage in the US…

    You can find Brad's previous editions here. And tune in to radio Sputnik five days a week.

    We'd love to get your feedback at radio@sputniknews.com

    Tags:
    healthcare, Medicaid, Trumpcare, GOP
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