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As Markups on GOP's Disastrous Healthcare Plan Get Underway, Resistance Demands Transparency

The Indivisible team is calling on constituents to let their lawmakers know ramming through a plan without 'robust and affordable healthcare options' is unacceptable

A sign riffing off President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan is held at a Feb. 25 rally in Washington, D.C. in support of the Affordable Care act, also known as Obamacare. (Photo: Ted Eytan/flickr/cc)

As two House committees on Wednesday take up Republicans' plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Indivisible team is urging constituents to put pressure on their members of Congress and demand transparency regarding the proposal dubbed "a toxic prescription for healthcare."

House Republicans on Monday night unveiled the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), their plan to dismantle major provisions of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, and as Reuters writes

Later on Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee, with jurisdiction over taxes, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees health issues, will each pursue separate "mark-up" sessions to consider amendments to the plan. Their meetings are scheduled to begin at 10:30am EST (1530 GMT).

The plan is already set to hit roadblocks from some fellow Republicans who see it as not harsh enough. "But," The Hill writes, "the drama Wednesday will likely come from Democrats, as they push back against changes to Obamacare and rip Republicans for marking up a bill without a score from the Congressional Budget Office."

Democratic lawmakers' approach, CQ Roll Call writes, is to

force Republicans to vote against otherwise bipartisan issues, like a requirement that the legislation not force children off their health coverage or that the committee not consider any legislation that hadn't been public for a certain period of time. Democrats will also drag out their speaking time. All 24 Democrats on the Energy and Commerce committee plan to give an opening statement Wednesday, a committee spokesman said.

Democrats don't have the votes to block the legislation from advancing out of the committees and later moving as a combined package to the House floor. But they can try to make the process as lengthy and controversial as possible. One staffer said Ways and Means was already eyeing more than 75 amendments.

As for the lack of score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), as Common Dreams noted, that means lawmakers will be voting without an estimate from that office of how much the new legislation will cost or how many people will lose coverage.

With that in mind, Indivisible held an emergency #ProtectOurCare call Tuesday evening, and says it is unacceptable for the bill to be "rammed through" giving "only 40 hours for the public and even other Members of Congress (MoCs) to review" it. "The American public deserves to know the effects of a bill of this magnitude," it continues.

Indivisible offers as a resource a sample script for people to use to call their legislator and say that if the plan "does not preserve the core values of the ACA—like robust and affordable healthcare options for all Americans covered under the ACA," he or she should oppose it.

White House Budget chief (and safety net slasher-proponent) Mick Mulvaney, meanwhile, admitted on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday that providing a way for people to get "insurance is not really the end goal here."

The goal of the Republican plan, according Robert Reich, is to create tax benefits for the rich.

In a new video posted Tuesday, the political commentator and former Secretary of Labor says "Republicans can't create a replacement plan that keeps the promises they've made to keep for everyone covered."

The reason they want to get rid of law, he says, is "because it would mean a huge tax windfall for the wealthy," charging that it would "put an average of $33,000 of tax cuts in the hands of the richest one percent this year alone." And for the richest 400, it would translate to an average tax cut of for each 7 million a year. And at the same time it would take away healthcare coverage from 32 million Americans and batter Medicare, those who earn between $10,000 and $75,000 a year would see a tax increase, he adds.

Given its attacks on the poor, sick, and elderly, opposition to the proposal has poured in in the hours since the plan's release.

Planned Parenthood, which stands to lose 40 percent of its funding the if proposal passes, held rallies nationwide Tuesday to show its opposition, and the AARP has outlined its rejection, with the group's executive vice president Nancy LeaMond saying in a statement that it "would weaken Medicare, leaving the door open to a voucher program that shifts costs and risks to seniors;" would give "big drug companies and other special interests get a sweetheart deal"; and "Medicaid cuts could impact people of all ages and put at risk the health and safety of 17.4 million children and adults with disabilities and seniors by eliminating much-needed services."

The American Medical Association similarly called the plan "critically flawed."

For other healthcare advocates, the plan simply has made more clear the need for a single-payer healthcare system.

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