The Republican Party last week trotted out their latest attempt to give a tax break to their corporatist masters in the form of the Graham-Cassidy Bill. This was the latest attempt to roll back Obamacare and weaken the current healthcare system as it stands today. In the Trump Administration, preserving the current status quo is the best average Americans can hope for.
The Graham-Cassidy bill would have essentially punished the 31 states that have already expanded coverage under the marketplace. By taking the same pot of money allocated for those states and spreading it to all fifty, this would decrease the funds available for families already struggling. Beyond simply moving money around, it would have essentially ended the marketplace itself.
Even more revolting, it would have permitted insurance companies to sell plans that don’t meet federal requirements to sick people and charge them more for those preexisting conditions. This included mental health care, maternity care, drug treatment, and others. The tax subsidies for poor and middle-class families would have been taken away and instead given to the states to do with however they see fit.
This bill was dead on arrival. John McCain, Susan Collins, and Rand Paul committed to voting “no” within a few days of its introduction. Lisa Murkowski pledged to vote against it. Shelley Capito Moore, Rob Portman, and Cory Gardner would have been the next tier of “no” votes. Beyond those Republicans, just about every single medical-related special interest group or professional organization was against this legislation calling it “unworkable.”
Beyond having been a ghastly proposal, this has underscored the Republican’s obsession with undoing President Obama’s legacy. This intensity has moved from simply political rhetoric to almost personal.
Liberals and progressives expect the standard “liberal/communist/etc” attack line while conservatives are expecting their own, but never before in our country’s history have a political party sought to undo a former president’s legacy to this extent. The Reconciliation Act, which the Republicans are using to attack President Obama’s legacy, was used only once prior to January 20th.
The biggest concern for me is the state of disarray within the Republican Party. Speaker Ryan is in an impossible position between the Tuesday Group (Republican moderates) and the Freedom Caucus (far-right Republicans), making the Republican House caucus nearly ungovernable. Senate Majority Leader McConnell can barely run the Senate, but far more effectively than Ryan at the moment. The dysfunction within the GOP is part of the reason that permitted the rise of Trump. Unless the Republicans can sort out their internal problems, they will not be a functioning governing party for long.