Further indicating their willingness to “gouge poor people,” Senate Republicans are reportedly considering even deeper cuts to Medicaid than those proposed by the House version of Trumpcare, which amounted to around $800 billion over ten years.
“This change would thoroughly demolish Medicaid funding over time, much moreso than even the House bill.” —Jordan Weissmann, Slate
The Hill’s Peter Sullivan first reported on this latest development Monday in a healthcare fight that continues to intensify as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to bring Trumpcare to the floor for a vote before the July 4 recess without any semblence of public debate.
Citing several aides and lobbyists, Sullivan reports that the proposal to make even larger cuts to Medicaid—a program that provides insurance for one in five Americans—has become a “consensus option.”
“The proposal would start out the growth rate for a new cap on Medicaid spending at the same levels as the House bill,” Sullivan writes, “but then drop to a lower growth rate that would cut spending more…starting in 2025.”
Because of the determination of Senate Republicans to keep the details of their version of Trumpcare hidden from the public, it has been difficult for activists and commentators to analyze the bill’s potential consequences. The possibility of even more severe Medicaid cuts demonstrates, for some, why the secrecy has been so strictly enforced.
“This change,” noted Slate‘s Jordan Weissmann, “would thoroughly demolish Medicaid funding over time, much more so than even the House bill.”
“No wonder the Senate leadership doesn’t want the public to see what it’s working on,” Weissmann concluded.
In a piece for the New Republic, Sarah Jones called the proposal a “near-apocalyptic scenario for the poor, people with disabilities, and many middle-class families as well.”
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“Republicans know this,” she added. “It’s why they’re writing the bill in secret. It’s why they’re avoiding townhalls.”
Prior to the emergence of The Hill‘s report, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a statement announcing it is, in partnership with disability rights organizations, sponsoring a congressional briefing on Monday to “examine the devastating impact of Medicaid per capita caps on people with disabilities.”
“Medicaid is a lifeline for people with disabilities and prevents them from being forced into nursing homes and institutions. They have a right to live independent lives in the community, where they can make meaningful contributions and fully participate in our democracy,” said Faiz Shakir, ACLU’s national political director.
“For many, Medicaid coverage is the difference between life and death,” Shakir concluded. “We cannot allow Congress to undermine the lives of millions of Americans in this way and we must stop the American Health Care Act from ever becoming the law of the land.”
For activists, this news provides even more fuel for action plans they have developed in recent weeks to block Republican efforts.
As Common Dreams reported on Sunday, various groups have intensified their campaigns to pressure both Republican and Democratic lawmakers to stand firmly against Trumpcare.
“Medicaid is a lifeline for people with disabilities and prevents them from being forced into nursing homes and institutions.” —Faiz Shakir, ACLU national political director
“This upcoming week will bring more protests,” Vox‘s Jeff Stein noted. “Perhaps the biggest event will be three 24-hour vigils with patients and the elderly, held in succession. The 72-hour event will begin Wednesday at 5 pm with a sit-in at Sen. [Rob] Portman’s (R-Ohio) office in Cleveland, then carry on with another day-long protest at Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle in New York City, which in turn will be picked up by yet another 24-hour sit-in at the offices of Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).”
Democrats, facing pressure from their base, have also vowed to block the GOP’s efforts to ram Trumpcare through without discussion.
“If Republicans won’t relent and debate their healthcare bill in the open for the American people to see,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), “then they shouldn’t expect business as usual in the Senate.”
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