As dozens of protestors led by Reverend William Barber crowded the halls of the Capitol and labeled the GOP's healthcare agenda "political murder," Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a new version of their Trumpcare plan that one critic mockingly described as "new and improved total garbage."
"The new Trumpcare bill is awful by design. The tool we have to fight it is simple: public pressure on senators."
—Ezra Levin, IndivisibleThe newly released plan leaves massive and widely condemned Medicaid cuts intact while adding a new amendment—put forth by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)—that would allow insurers to offer cheap "bare-bones" plans which would wipe out a range of protections for all patients and specifically harm those with preexisting conditions.
Here's how Buzzfeed's Hayes Brown portrayed Cruz's efforts to "save" his party's bill:
we go now live to ted cruz attempting to save the senate health care bill pic.twitter.com/PwcIzUhout— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) July 13, 2017
CNN further noted that keeping the Medicaid cuts in place means "15 million fewer people could insured by the program by 2026" if Trumpcare becomes law.
Aside from the injection of extra funds aimed at appeasing so-called "moderate" Republicans who expressed concern that the bill does not do enough to address the opioid epidemic, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to be committed to keeping the most destructive elements of the bill in place, analysts observed.
One lobbyist told Vox's Dylan Scott that McConnell seems intent upon "going right rather than center."
"I knew this bill was unfixable. What I didn't count on was that it would get worse."
—Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator of Medicare and Medicaid
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As a result, at least one skeptical Republican Senator—Susan Collins of Maine—has already signaled that she will likely vote against a motion to proceed with the legislation, while several others remain undecided. If the bill is to pass, McConnell can only afford to lose two votes.
"I knew this bill was unfixable," concluded former acting administrator of Medicare and Medicaid Andy Slavitt. "What I didn't count on was that it would get worse."
Resistance groups used the unveiling of Trumpcare's latest iteration as an opportunity to urge activists to keep up the pressure, and further acts of mass civil disobedience are reportedly being planned.
"Don't fall for McConnell's trap. The new Trumpcare bill is awful by design, but it's not doomed. It's not the final version," wrote Ezra Levin, co-executive director of Indivisible. "The tool we have to fight it is simple: public pressure on senators."
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who spent this past weekend rallying the Trumpcare opposition in West Virginia and Kentucky, reiterated a point he has made frequently in recent months.
"Make no mistake about it," he wrote, "thousands of Americans every year will die unnecessarily if the Republican legislation is passed."
Topher Spiro, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, marked up Cruz's amendment to demonstrate how disastrous it would be for consumers.
Here are the consumer protections the Cruz amendment wipes out: pic.twitter.com/WAWt8zJY0f— Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) July 13, 2017