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Healthcare activists hold signs during a protest against the Trumpcare bill on June 21, 2017 in San Francisco, California. Dozens of healthcare activists and senior citizens staged a protest outside the San Francisco Federal Building to express their opposition of the American Heathcare Act bill that is being drafted behind closed doors by Republican senators. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

 

Heartless! Senate Trumpcare Plan Every Bit as 'Ugly' and 'Cruel' as Expected

"The Senate healthcare bill is the disaster we knew it would be. It cannot be allowed to pass."

Jake Johnson

After weeks of secrecy, the Senate GOP's Trumpcare plan—described as "a tax cut wrapped in the veneer of a healthcare bill" that could portend a "near-apocalyptic scenario for the poor"—was made available (pdf) to the public on Thursday and is largely living up to the gruesome expectations of analysts and critics.

"It's exactly what you'd expect from 13 Republican men and a bunch of lobbyists."
—Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)
The bill is not yet in its final form and, according to reports, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still considering input from corporate lobbyists, but the contents released online have already sparked a flood of alarmed criticism, vows of opposition, and protests outside of McConnell's office.

In its current iteration, the bill:

  • Repeals most of the Obamacare taxes, a boon to the richest Americans
  • Eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood
  • Limits the availability of tax credits
  • Ends Medicaid expansion, a crucial component of Obamacare that insured millions, by 2024
  • Imposes sharper cuts to Medicaid than the House version of Trumpcare over the long-term—and could essentially phase out the program entirely
  • Provides significant room for states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients

Though many Republicans have expressed hesitation about backing a deeply unpopular piece of legislation that would have a devastating impact on many of their constituents, McConnell has remained insistent upon bringing Trumpcare—which Senate Republicans have formally labeled the Better Care Reconciliation Act—to the floor for a vote next week.

Commentators and activists summarized the bill in much the same way they had in the weeks leading up to its release due to the fact that, as the Washington Post notes, it "largely mirrors the House measure."

Both, if enacted, would rapidly alter the structure of the American healthcare system and increase, by tens of millions, the number of people without insurance.

"Trumpcare doesn't just repeal Obamacare," political analyst Stephen Wolf observed. "It repeals the last 52 years of advances in healthcare policy."

Faiz Shakir, the national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), argued in a statement the legislation would "endanger the lives and liberty of many Americans."

Shakir continued:

Heartless! Now we know why Senate Republicans have done everything they can to hide the contents of their health care repeal bill from the American people. By eviscerating Medicaid, this bill threatens the liberty of people with disabilities, who will be forced to live in nursing homes and institutions instead of their own homes. By defunding Planned Parenthood, this bill threatens the health of 2.5 million women and men in our country, many of whom rely on the health centers as their only source of care. And by throwing tens of millions of people off their insurance, this bill disproportionately impacts communities of color who will lose access to care and coverage.

In a blog post on Thursday, Indivisible co-executive directors Ezra Levin and Leah Greenberg deemed the bill "cruel" and "ugly," and outlined an action plan for those looking to resist its passage.

"Heartless! Now we know why Senate Republicans have done everything they can to hide the contents of their health care repeal bill from the American people."
—Faiz Shakir, ACLU national political director

"We are under no illusions that victory is assured here," they concluded, "but victory is possible."

Democratic lawmakers, who in recent days have responded to grassroots pressure by vowing to forcefully oppose the legislation, were also quick to respond to the plan's release.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) pointed out that Trumpcare's contents are hardly surprising.

"It's exactly what you'd expect from 13 Republican men and a bunch of lobbyists," she wrote.


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