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Why The Defeat of Trumpcare Is So Damn Important

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Why The Defeat of Trumpcare Is So Damn Important

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It’s hard to be cheery when your government is being consumed by aspiring authoritarian kleptocracy.

Republicans are stealing a Supreme Court seat, unleashing polluters and bankers to do irreparable damage to the climate and economy, and masking wrongdoings that range from never-ending, petty soakings of taxpayers to what could be the biggest scandal in American history.

Put all that aside for a moment to pat yourself — or your local Indivisible group — on the back.

Twice in our recent history, new Republican presidents have stormed into Washington D.C. — even one who had lost the popular vote and was gifted the presidency by the Supreme Court — and achieved their first legislative goal with at least a few Democratic votes. That didn’t happen this time. The American Health Care Act, along with the GOP’s attempt to starve Planned Parenthood and the millions of poor Americans it exclusively serve of crucial public funds, is dead — for now.

Let’s not forget what this was all about: cutting taxes for the richest — who are at or near all-time records for concentrated wealth.

“The payout to the top 400 families alone was estimated to exceed total ACA subsidies in 20 states and the District of Columbia,” Harold Pollack notes in a Politico piece blaming the failure of the AHCA on the bill being a “dumpster fire.”

Taking away things workers need to give the richest gratuitous gifts isn’t just Paul Ryan’s passion in life, it’s the reason the modern GOP exists.

Reporters have called Ryan a “policy wonk” but AHCA revealed that redistributing wealth up is his only policy. It was behind this dumpster fire of a bill that not only repealed the Affordable Care Act but also ended Medicaid as we know it and cut Medicare. And it’s behind his stated passions for privatizing Medicare and Social Security.

Stopping Ryan from achieving his first step in undoing the achievements of Barack Obama, Lyndon Johnson, and Franklin Roosevelt sends a warning shot to conservatives who now must recognize they only had this opportunity because Donald Trump lied to voters about the GOP having an actual replacement for the ACA — and lied as well about his promises to protect Medicaid and Medicare.

For years, Ryan sought to sell cuts as “saving” those vital, beloved programs. Trump realized that they only needed to be saved from Ryan and the GOP, so why not tell voters exactly what they wanted to hear?

“Repeal and replace” became the GOP slogan simply because it was alliterative and it polled well.

SPOILER: There’s no real replacement because the marketplace portion of the law was the closest thing to a GOP plan for universal health care. The Heritage Foundation wanted to implement it for the entire system, ending Medicaid and Medicare, the most popular things government has done that didn’t involve storming Normandy Beach. Their vision of health care is AHCA — massive uninsurance as a matter of “freedom” along with few benefits to the coverage, in defense of insurance company profits.

Trump — as someone who has benefited from GOP largess toward rich kids his entire life — doesn’t know how government works but he knows how to sell crap.

Republicans never thought to pretend that their “replacement” would be “terrific” and fix the things voters don’t like about the ACA — high deductibles, unchecked premiums and the insurance mandate — because they knew any replacement they offered would have higher deductibles and less help from the government to pay premiums. Adding in a new mandate that went directly to insurance companies, and trying to pass it all in about a month, made the entire shit sandwich a perfect parody of everything they claimed.

And they would have gotten away with it if not for cruelty!

The bill was so cruel that not one Democrat even publicly suggested s/he might support it. But it wasn’t cruel enough to win over the Freedom Caucus, a group of 30 or so hard-core conservative white men from districts so safely red that even the local drag queens vote Republican. If not for the Freedom Caucus’ recalcitrance, Ryan could have rushed through the bill and served it up to the Senate to shape the mush into something that might have tempted even a few red state Democrats.

Yes, the resistance from the Freedom Caucus allowed a crucial opening for the left. But this bill didn’t become law for many reasons. There is Trump’s record unpopularity that made Steve Bannon’s demands on the Freedom Caucus laughable. It was crap legislation that reflected a dysfunctional party bereft of any appeal beyond lies and dog whistles to distract from its plutocratic agenda. And the party has just forgotten how or why it should govern.

But most importantly this, was a victory for the real resistance.

Because a Google Doc revealing what former Democratic staffers had learned from the Tea Party movement was released in mid-December became a grassroots groundswell known as Indivisible by March, because millions of people were ready to march on January 21, and then tens of thousands showed up again at airports to protest Trump’s travel ban, and at rallies to protest repeal, and because calls to Members to Congress against the bill outnumbered those for the bill by a margin of 50-to1, according to one count, this bill didn’t even get a vote.

Republicans in swing districts began peeling off — and the tremendous power of committee chairs and the White House to grease the wheels of legislation, which could possibly have swayed stray members of the Freedom Caucus and gotten the 216 votes necessary, were useless.

The fight over the sabotage of the ACA at the federal level has just begun. But this was a victory for a Democratic grassroots that has emerged out of pure frustration, passion, and horror.

It’s a movement that allowed elected Democratic officials to stand back and watch the GOP’s incompetence and invidiousness consumed by a firestorm of activated constituents. It wasn’t stoked by the Kochs or publicized by Fox News. So now the questions are whether it will continue to grow, despite inevitable failures and setbacks — and whether Democratic leaders are enraged, impassioned, and relentless enough to keep up with an activated political left with no appetite for compromise or half-measures.

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19 Comments

  1. dbtheonly March 27, 2017

    Would disagree in several specifics.

    Gorsuch wasn’t as much stolen as bought.

    Modern Republicans don’t want to repeal just the acts of Presidents Obama, Johnson, and Franklin Roosevelt. They wish to undo the Administrations of President Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt as well.

    Would suggest the reality of undoing ObamaCare has been caught in the intersection of LOLGOP’s point that ObamaCare is a Republican plan, the inherent rising costs for ever more extensive care, the rising need for care in an aging population, the Republican’s not needing a specific plan beyond, “No”, and Trumps’ insatiable need to sell and over sell literally everything.

    Reply
  2. Dominick Vila March 27, 2017

    First and foremost, why did the GOP attempts to repeal the ACA fail? (1) Republicans underestimated the level of support the ACA, Social Security, MEDICARE, and MEDICAID enjoy. (2) After almost 7 years of demonization and constant attempts to repeal the ACA, the GOP had nothing in place to replace it. (3) The hastily developed ACA replacement turned out to be a crass attempt to re-distribute wealth to the richest Americans, and to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, at the expense of low middle class Americans. (4) Neither Trump, nor Ryan, were able to achieve consensus when faced by the “Freedom” caucus, the ultra-conservative group that believes the role of government is to help the wealthy and engage in warfare, and a few Republican moderates well aware of the backlash that the latest Republican endeavor was eliciting in their districts. (5) A total lack of leadership on the part of Trump, a man that does not understand the nuances of governing and who believes his role is limited to the ceremonial duties of monarchs or Chairmen of the Board…with a mix of arm twisting.

    Reply
  3. dbtheonly March 27, 2017

    Would suggest that Gorsuch wasn’t so much stolen as bought.

    Would disagree about The Republicans undoing the works of Presidents Obama, Johnson, and Franklin Roosevelt. They also would undo the actions of Presidents Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt. Pretty much repeal the 20th Century.

    The ObamaCare repeal and replace is caught at the intersection of several roads. LOLGOP’s point that Obamacare really is a Republican Plan. Health Care is getting more expensive as ever more detailed and intricate options become available. The Republicans lived for eight years on nothing ore than, “No”. The aging US population will demand ever more Health care services. Trump has an insatiable desire to sell and over sell everything.

    Thus you have Trump, cheerfully telling anyone who’ll listen how wonderful, great, less expensive, more comprehensive, TrumpCare’s going to be. You’ve got those trying to work out the specifics running the numbers and seeing the problems. You’ve got those demanding repeal regardless. And you’ve got the rest of us just waiting to see how they get out of the box the Republicans have put themselves into.

    Reply
    1. FireBaron March 27, 2017

      Actually, db, they would love to bring back much of what Wilson stood for – segregation, ending women’s suffrage, no government programs that support anyone, suppression of habeas corpus for anyone who opposes the government, keeping “undesirable aliens” out of the country (he opposed anyone who self-identified as a “hyphen” American). Wilson was the closest thing to a modern Republican that the Democrats ever nominated.

      1. dbtheonly March 27, 2017

        We can certainly discuss the issue of the desirability of extreme measures in wartime, but I will assert that President Wilson’s actions were no more egregious than either President Lincoln’s or President Roosevelt’s and all paled in comparison with those methods used to suppress dissent during the Revolution.

        President Wilson had a strong record of support and achievement of Progressive goals. Progressive Income Taxation, government regulation of business, particularly railroads, and the Federal Reserve System among them. But, as Hillary and the TPL show, you can’t please everyone.

        Suggest you look at Alton Parker and Al Smith before trying to hang the Republican label on President Wilson.

        1. Eleanore Whitaker March 27, 2017

          Wilson was the only president thus far from my state (NJ). We in NJ are not fond of Wilson’s policies or his Princetonian attitude, the same one possessed by elitists Alito and Roberts.

          Here in NJ, Wilson was known as a president who much preferred insularity rather than allowing the US government to extend beyond on shores. As the former first president of Princeton University, he was drawn to politics for the same reasons as the verdicts that come down from Alito and Roberts, also Princetonians…The US being the hub for business over individual rights.

  4. TZToronto March 27, 2017

    Scrapping the ACA would be the thin edge of the wedge. Had the GOP been able to establish an ongoing conduit of money to the uber-wealthy through their ACHA, the next step would have been rewriting tax laws to exempt all investment income from tax (it creates jobs, after all [sic]); everyone has the option to invest their money, right? Corporate taxes would eventually be abolished, allowing companies to gift their C-Suite people with ever more bonuses. With no affordable health care, no tax relief, and no social safety net, the middle class would disappear, and poverty would become ubiquitous (except for the ultra-elites).

    Reply
    1. Eleanore Whitaker March 27, 2017

      The reality is that the Republicans banked on Americans ALL being stupid not to realize they had 8 Republican years of bitching about government managed healthcare and had NO plan to replace it.

  5. Wolfesgang March 27, 2017

    Trump’s now threatening to tackle taxes. May his success be similar to that of his Obamacare efforts!

    Reply
    1. Eleanore Whitaker March 27, 2017

      Tackle taxes? Or find ways to hand more money to himself and his crook billionaires? Just how far does he think he will get trying to buffalo American taxpayers? We already solely support him and his billionaire Grifter Club. through tens of billions in corporate tax subsidies, tax cuts and now this moron in chief thinks Americans won’t figure out that what he and his fraternity of money mad nuts want is NO responsibility for the crap their companies dump on employees, taxpayers and consumers and NO obligation, ZERO, to pay taxes based on THEIR incomes and profits just like the IRS bases our.

      Yeesh. If Trump and the Republicans could get more obtuse, they’d have the brains of road kill.

    2. pisces63 March 27, 2017

      Maybe I will be able to get that Astin Martin since, I will ‘be able to buy one or not’ like health insurance, per Ryan.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker March 27, 2017

        King Rat Ryan only shows his stupidity. Anyone who lives in NJ or NY pays the highest healthcare insurance in the country …according to BIG INSURANCE because we live in the most densely populated region per square mile and that is supposed to be a negative indication of illness and by association, filing of MORE healthcare insurance claims.

  6. ivory69690@yahoo.com March 27, 2017

    Why The Defeat of Trumpcare Is So Damn Important ????????? first off it was just part of the DONNY DUMP clown show to fool the easily fooled drain dead followers . the DUMPSTER will go down in history BUT ALL BAD HISTORY (might very well be how he wants it knowing the clown he is ) but the history books will have how even in the 21st Cent. there is so much racist hate in the country . I don’t believe its as much the ACA that is the problem if it been a white guy and or president that came up with it im sure there would be every one in office (even the GOP gang of pinheads MAYBE ) would be working all together to make the plan the best thy could . BUT FOR it being a BLACK man and President . all the bets are off . 2017 too much racist hate in the country . and the history books will tell this sad story forever in time who knows only history will tell if there might be a time when things are judged not by the color race or faith of the person BUT FOR WHAT IT CAN DO FOR ALL PEOPLE until its understood that we are all of only one RACE THE HUMAN RACE can thing only get better .

    Reply
  7. Eleanore Whitaker March 27, 2017

    When the Tea Party Rough Rider Wusses thought they would come on like gangbusters and reinvent government to suit their so called “conservatism” they proved only one thing: They are nothing more than common thieves.

    One of the most unnoticed of their mobster thugs is a man named Sam Zherka, a strip club mogul from Westchester NY. He claimed the feds were after him. He was right. They were for making off with more than $146 million in loans from three banks between 2005 and 2010. and lying on loan applications in his decades long tax fraud scheme. He threatened a government witness in April 2012. Sound familiar? Sound like the MO of Herr von und zu Trump and his thugs? Sound like the same King Rat Ryan tactics?

    Reply
    1. dbtheonly March 27, 2017

      Much different.

      Zherka’s been caught.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker March 27, 2017

        Yes. I knew that. My post was to indicate that the Tea Party is not the innocent holier than thou bunch they make out. Ryan, Issa, Chaffetz, Gowdy, Cotton and the rest are as tied to these “banks” as Trump is to Russia. The legacy of the Tea Party needs to be under a microscope.

  8. Eleanore Whitaker March 27, 2017

    Most of us overlook the decades upon decades of hundreds of billions in profit Big Insurance has stuffed into their tax free offshore bank accounts that came from their “insurance games.”

    ONLY BIG Insurance makes the decisions on who they will and won’t insure. So, their game was to ONLY insure the youngest pools for 20 or so years for PURE PROFIT since this age group is known to file few insurance claims.

    When the 20 somethings turn 45, Big Insurance adds game plan No. 2: Double the cost of insurance because 45 somethings will file claims. That doubled premium represents a 50% profit and the other 50% paid into premiums pays the cost of claims. Reach age 60 and you get dropped because Big Insurance MUST make billions a year in premium, copay and deductible profits so their CEOs can earn the world’s highest HMO and Big Pharma salaries. No other country of the world relies on a “free market” approach” to Healthcare.

    So in essence, if the management style of Big Insurance has caused tens of millions to go into medical bankruptcy, how great is THEIR management compared to government management of healthcare?

    Reply
    1. dbtheonly March 27, 2017

      Not just Big Insurance, Ms. E.

      All insurance companies must keep control of their anticipated or projected losses. It’s how they remain in business.

      It’s why the whole “pre-existing condition” is so important. No insurance company wants to sell a policy they know will have to pay off.

    2. pisces63 March 27, 2017

      I whole hearted agree because I work for one. The raise in premiums, insurance companies folding? Just because republicans run the show and they thought they would put them back into the catbird seat. My boss has had something to say on every move from 2010 until the Trump win but nothing since and especially not since last week. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Things will look up drastically in a couple of months and insurance companies will reopen and lower premiums. Watch. Like wall street and it’s run of highs to their now, run of lows due to dumb trump. They used the black man to do it and that is probably why you do not see Klackker McConnell!!

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