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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Shaft The Long-Term Unemployed And The GOP’s Other 2014 New Year’s Resolutions

Shaft The Long-Term Unemployed And The GOP’s Other 2014 New Year’s Resolutions

Right now, Republicans are thrilled with themselves.

In 2013, they prevented both gun safety and immigration reforms, while enjoying the adrenaline rush of holding the economy hostage and actually shutting down the government for 16 days.

And because HealthCare.gov got off to such a craptastic start, they’re currently poised to keep their House majority, which they were able to retain in 2012 even though their nominees received more than a million fewer votes than Democratic candidates.

So what’s this merry band of total bummers planning for 2014? More of the same.

Here are five New Year’s resolutions you can be sure the GOP will do its best to keep.

1. Cut 1.3 million people off unemployment insurance.
Congress has extended unemployment insurance benefits more than a half-dozen times since the 1950s, and it has never cut them off when the long-term unemployment rate was higher than 1.3 percent. It is currently 2.6 percent and Republicans in both chambers are refusing to extend the emergency benefits for the long-term unemployed that first went into effect ion when the Great Recession began, even though George W. Bush extended emergency benefits multiple times. Even in nearly every Republican-held swing district, a majority of the public wants these benefits extended. But the Republican mania to cut the deficit, even though it has been cut in half, continues.

For some Republicans — like Senator Rand Raul (R-KY) — cutting off those who can’t find work when there are two applicants for each open job is doing them a favor. But there’s no evidence that backs up that cruel claim.

2. Deny five million of the hardest-working Americans health insurance.
Medicaid expansion was designed to help those who work but earn too much to qualify for basic Medicaid. This encourages Americans to rise out of poverty and is the closest thing to a “public option” in Obamacare. Thanks to the Supreme Court, states can opt out of the program — even though the government covers 100 percent of the costs at first and 90 percent in perpetuity — at any time. And 25 Republican-led states have done just that, leaving nearly five million in a “coverage gap” where they cannot afford any coverage.

They’re doing this knowing they’re denying billions of dollars that would grow their states’ economies, driving up the cost of insurance in their marketplaces and endangering the lives of 27,000 residents in the process.

3. Try to cancel millions of Americans’ health insurance.
Republicans are just as committed to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act now as they were before their failed attempt to defund it by forcing a government shutdown. Any GOP candidate who suggests that we should simply fix the health care law instead of completely ripping its existence from the fabric of history is forced to retract the statement and repent. The problem for Republicans now is that repeal is no longer theoretical. Repeal now means canceling the coverage of the three million young adults on their parents’ plans, the more than three million people who have signed up for Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and the at least one million people who have selected paid private plans through the health care exchanges.

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