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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) walks to a meeting in the U.S. Capitol July 25, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) walks to a meeting in the U.S. Capitol July 25, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

'Red Alert' Sounded: Trumpcare Is Back, More Brutal and Deadly Than Ever

Sen. Bernie Sanders called the new Obamacare repeal plan "yet another disastrous Republican proposal to throw millions of people off health insurance."

Jake Johnson

The Trumpcare zombie has risen from the grave to terrorize the American public once more.

"Defeating Trumpcare doesn't take rocket science. What it takes is steady focus and relentless pressure. We can do this. Lives depend on it."
—Ben Wikler, MoveOn.org
Progressive organizations, lawmakers, hospital groups, and healthcare specialists have issued a "red alert" as reporting over the weekend indicated that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is considering a vote by the end of this month on what Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called Sunday "yet another disastrous Republican proposal to throw millions of people off health insurance."

In an email to supporters Sunday night, Ben Wikler, Washington director of MoveOn.org, warned that the Republican Party "is now a hair's breadth away—closer than they've ever been—to passing a devastating healthcare repeal bill, shredding the Affordable Care Act  (ACA), and gutting Medicaid."

"All we need is one more [vote]," Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) concluded.

The plan under consideration was authored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). Summaries of the bill indicate that, if passed, it would be every bit as harmful as the Trumpcare proposals that failed to escape the Senate in July.

The Graham-Cassidy plan—"Trumpcare by another name"—has yet to be analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), but McConnell has asked for the scoring process to be fast-tracked, the Washington Post reports.

But even without a CBO score, experts have said there is enough evidence to conclude the plan would impose devastating and deadly cuts to key safety net programs and disproportionately harm America's most vulnerable communities.

In a recent analysis, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) found that the Graham-Cassidy plan would "gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions," impose "damaging cuts" to Medicaid, and "cause many millions of people to lose coverage."

By 2027, the Graham-Cassidy plan "would be virtually identical to a repeal-without-replace bill," the CBPP concluded. "CBO estimated that the repeal-without-replace approach would ultimately leave 32 million more people uninsured. The Cassidy-Graham bill would presumably result in even deeper coverage losses than that in the second decade."

Andy Slavitt, who ran the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the presidency of Barack Obama, posted a bullet-point summary of the proposal on Twitter last week. The post has since garnered over 42,000 retweets—just one indication of the groundswell of opposition the legislation will likely provoke.

As the Post's Elise Viebeck and David Weigel observe, the GOP is working with an imposing deadline: September 30 marks the last day the Republicans can ram through budgetary legislation with merely a simple majority. Beyond that date, the GOP will need 60 votes.

"The fight to save heathcare isn't over. Sound the alarm."
—Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Because this deadline is looming, activist groups are warning that Republicans will be under even more pressure to vote 'yes,' and that those who opposed previous measures—like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)—might ultimately flip.

MoveOn.org's Wikler concluded that "massive, unignorable pressure" will be necessary to defeat the Republicans' "brutal and deadly" act of desperation.

Disability rights activists, who were central to the defeat of Trumpcare in July, have already begun mobilizing against Graham-Cassidy, and other organizations—from Planned Parenthood to Indivisible and more—are planning to ramp up resistance efforts this week.

"Defeating Trumpcare doesn't take rocket science," Wikler concluded. "What it takes is steady focus and relentless pressure. We can do this. Lives depend on it."

Democratic lawmakers—many of whom co-sponsored Sanders's Medicare for All legislation—joined the calls for mass mobilization.


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