Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
The abominable AHCA (or simply “Trumpcare), the House Republican’s replacement of Obamacare, is being felt far and wide. While the Senate has already said it has no intention of taking up the House version and the hope is it will die there, many are frightened by the sheer amount of malice that it contains.
Among the great many negatives in the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare, it seems that one of their hastily-added “improvements” to the bill could wind up making 7 million military veterans ineligible for health care tax credits. Indeed, the very party that shamelessly exploits our troops out of political expediency–feigning patriotism in the form of tacky flag pins is now screwing veterans Worst of all, Press Secretary Sean Spicer has absolutely no answer for it. The snafu was discovered by Chris Jacobs, the Former Policy Advisor for the House Republican Conference under Chairman Mike Pence. Here was what Jacobs discovered:
The most recent estimates suggest about 9.1 million individuals are enrolled in VA health programs. However, a 2014 Congressional Budget Office score of veterans’ choice legislation concluded that about 8 million [veterans] qualify to enroll in VA’s health system but have not enrolled. Subtracting for VA enrollment gains since that CBO score leaves approximately seven million veterans eligible for, but not enrolled in, VA health programs, and thus potentially affected by the House’s ‘technical’ change.
Just when you thought these disingenuous, greedy lawmakers couldn’t possibly get any more evil, they go full-blown Lex Luthor. Here was the very angry response from Will Fischer, Iraq War Veteran and Director of Government Outreach for VoteVets:
What started as a bad bill has now turned into a grotesque Frankenstein monster, a crude and rushed patchwork of mini-bills that hurt people who can least afford it. Now, we find out that Trumpcare will strip tax credits from potentially millions of veterans, and flood the VA with new patients at a time the VA is understaffed to handle a rush, thanks to the Donald Trump’s hiring freeze.Since the freeze went into effect, we’ve already seen wait times lengthen; the claims backlog that President Obama had virtually eliminated, starting to grow again. This will only cause things to get worse. We cannot put it more simply than this: Trumpcare will punish veterans. You cannot be pro-veteran and vote for Trumpcare.
Now, we all know how much Trump loves to pretend he gives a crap about the military so as to compensate for his macho insecurity and lack of military service. But not even Spicer could spin this when speaking to reporters. Here was his exchange with John Gizzi of Newsmax. GIZZI: Several publications, including Sara’s, reported today that as a result of a change of a few words, veterans who benefited from a program called Veterans’ Affairs or had the option of getting tax credits would now get neither under the new legislation and that seven million veterans would be cost health care. Is the administration following this, and is urging Congress to do anything about it?
SPICER: Most veterans get their health care through Tri-care, or through Medicare if they’re over 65, or a combination thereof, correct?
GIZZI: And this is — well, but there’s two programs: One is the Veterans’ Affairs program, and the other is the option, this is under the current law, to have tax credits. And my understanding, again from Sara’s publication this morning and several others, is that seven million veterans could possibly lose both under this plan.
SPICER: Yeah, I — I’d have to follow-up with you, I’m not aware of any modifications to Tri-care, in particular, that would have that effect.
There is positively no way to spin this horrendous bill no matter how much Spicer tries, for it has about as much chance surviving in the Senate as a cancer patient has living on it.
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