Tag Archives: American Health Care Act

Health care is ‘hard,’ yes, Mr. President?

What once was “easy” has become “hard.”

So said the president of the United States. Yep, Donald J. Trump has told TV interviewers that efforts to overhaul health care legislation is a “hard” task, that it’s going to take time.

Who knew?

Certainly not the man who, while running for president, called it “easy.” He boasted from many campaign podiums that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act almost immediately upon taking office and replace it with … um, something else.

“It’s easy!” he bellowed.

Sure thing, bub.

It’s not so easy. The American Health Care Act barely cleared the House of Representatives. Now it’s the Senate’s turn to discuss and debate this matter. Except that only Republicans are doing the dickering; Democrats aren’t in the game.

And, oh yes. Now we have five Republican senators saying they dislike the current Senate legislation “in its current form.” The Senate, with a 52-48 GOP majority, can afford to lose only two votes; that would result in a tie and Vice President Mike Pence could cast the deciding vote, as he did when the Senate confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to her Cabinet job.

So, the president bragged and blustered about the ease of overhauling one-sixth of the nation’s economy. Today’s reality is telling him the hard truth, which is that legislating is a complicated job.

It’s hard, man!

‘Trumpcare’ it will be

Barack Obama’s critics have relished the opportunity to call his landmark health insurance overhaul legislation “Obamacare.”

I chose a while ago to forgo that term, preferring to call it by its official name: the Affordable Care Act. Any reference to the “Obamacare” would acknowledge that’s the term others have hung on it. The former president himself eventually would refer to the ACA by the term used by his critics.

Obama no longer is in office. Donald J. Trump is now the president. Trump has pushed another piece of legislation. It is called the American Health Care Act.

In the spirit of those who were so highly critical of the president’s predecessor, I am now preferring to refer to the AHCA as “Trumpcare.”

Hey, I am as critical of the current president as Barack H. Obama’s critics were of him. My loathing for Donald J. Trump entitles me, therefore, to refer to his version of health care overhaul as Trumpcare.

As if we needed reminding … POTUS is clueless

Donald J. Trump’s endorsement of the Australian universal health care system confirms what many of us have thought for as long as this individual has been involved in politics.

He doesn’t know anything. Not about public policy. Or governance. Or public service. Nothing outside the realm of personal enrichment and self-aggrandizement.

The president and his Republican colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives had just passed a bill that repeals the Affordable Care Act and replaces it with something called the American Health Care Act. Then he jetted to New York and sat next to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull — and then lauded the Australian health care system.

The president said we should pattern our system after the Aussies’ system of providing universal health care for every citizen. How do they do it? The government pays for it.

But wait! Didn’t the GOP members of Congress want to do away with government mandates? Didn’t they insist on letting the marketplace set the price for health care insurance? Haven’t they been savaging the ACA as some sort of “socialized medicine” scheme cooked up by the socialists ensconced in the White House, led by President Barack Obama?

The GOP’s main man, the president of the United States, just endorsed a government-run health care system that reportedly works pretty well for the people it serves.

The president doesn’t know anything! He is utterly and completely unaware of the very public policy he says he favors.

He’s been involved in politics for less than two years. He rode down the escalator at Trump Tower in June 2015 to announce his presidential campaign. He got elected and has continued almost daily to demonstrate his absolute ignorance of the office he now holds and the awesome responsibility he has assumed.

I truly don’t expect him to learn all there is to know about everything in such a short span of time. However, it wasn’t too much to expect that he at least had some semblance of a grasp of policy matters before deciding to run for president of the United States.

Cheers have ‘Mission Accomplished’ ring to them

All that back-slapping and high-fiving at the White House today seems a bit premature — to say the very least.

Congressional Republicans sauntered down from Capitol Hill to the White House to congratulate themselves for approving a measure that repeals the Affordable Care Act and replaces it with the American Health Care Act.

“Today we made history by taking the first important step toward rescuing hardworking families from the failures and skyrocketing costs of Obamacare,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise,  R-La., said in a statement.

They all are members of the House of Representatives. The bill, which passed 217-213 — with zero Democratic votes — now must go to the Senate, where their fellow Republicans are sending signals that the House bill is dead on arrival. It’s a goner. The Senate is going to craft an entirely different bill.

As The Hill reported: “The bill, known as the American Health Care Act, repeals the core elements of ObamaCare, including its subsidies to help people get insurance coverage, expansion of Medicaid, taxes and mandates for people to get coverage.

“In its place, the bill provides a new tax credit aimed at helping people buy insurance, though it would provide less help than ObamaCare to low-income people.”

The Hill also reported: “The measure is expected to undergo a major overhaul in the Senate, especially on the Medicaid front, where several Republican senators from states that accepted the expansion are wary of cutting it off.”

Cheers are quite premature

I was reminded of another celebratory moment in recent U.S. history.

It was in 2003 and President George W. Bush flew onto the deck of an aircraft carrier, jumped out of the jet aircraft wearing a flight suit, changed his duds and then delivered a speech under a banner that declared “Mission Accomplished.”

The president was saluting the capture of the late dictator Saddam Hussein, who our troops pulled out of a spider hole in which he was hiding. The Iraqi dictator was put on trial, convicted and hanged.

The Iraq War, though, raged on … and on … and on. Thousands of American service personnel were killed and injured for years as they sought to bring the fighting under control.

The “Mission Accomplished” banner was premature in the extreme.

So was today’s GOP cork-popping at the White House.

Trump at war … with conservatives in GOP!

Conservative Republicans should have known what they were getting when they stood firmly behind their party’s presidential nominee in 2016.

They were backing a guy who didn’t understand them, didn’t understand how to legislate, didn’t grasp the degree to which they would run through brick walls to get their way.

So, when Donald Trump hooked up with congressional GOP leaders — comprising a few moderates here and there along with some notable conservatives — on a cobbled-together health care overhaul, the Freedom Caucus bolted.

The caucus opposed the American Health Care Act. It spoke as one. The president couldn’t deliver.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the Affordable Care Act should be repealed. It does kind of make me chuckle, too, to see the president get his head handed to him by a group of zealots who want the ACA tossed into the crapper.

But now the president has all but declared war against the Freedom Caucus. I believe this open warfare might doom whatever passes for Trump’s legislative agenda for, oh, the foreseeable future.

Trump is a RINO to many conservatives anyway. RINO, of course, means Republican In Name Only and it’s not altogether clear what precisely informs any public policy that pops into the president’s noggin.

The biggest surprise to me was that conservatives would stand with this candidate to begin with, given his bizarre personal marital history, his acknowledged groping of women, the manner in which he spoke to — and about — his more conservative GOP primary opponents. Whenever I hear Trump talk openly about matters important to social conservatives, one word keeps popping into my head: panderer.

Thus, I shouldn’t be surprised that the president would stake his agenda on cooperation with anyone other than the Freedom Caucus.

He’s not one of them. They certainly do not follow his lead.

The battle, therefore, is joined.

ACA just might survive GOP in-fighting

The Affordable Care Act has been called as good as dead, a goner, a “miserable failure.”

The Republican majority in Congress fought it tooth and nail for the past seven years. Then a Republican got elected president in 2016 and the GOP became downright giddy at the prospect of repealing the ACA, President Barack Obama’s chief domestic achievement.

Then it happened.

The Republicans cobbled together something called the American Health Care Act. Then they sent it to the Congressional Budget Office for some “scoring.” The CBO then delivered some numbers the GOP didn’t want to hear: 24 million Americans would lose health insurance, the CBO declared.

The GOP’s response? The CBO doesn’t know what it’s talking about, congressional leaders said.

But isn’t the CBO the gold standard for determining these matters?

Now the TEA Party wing of the GOP is rebelling against the AHCA. It’s “Obamacare Light,” they say. They hate the AHCA. Of course, they hate the ACA even more, which is no surprise, given that a Democratic president happened to be its founding father.

Oh, and Democrats? They’re unified against any effort to repeal the ACA and replace it with something that relies heavily on “tax credits” for Americans to buy insurance; Democrats call it code for “tax relief for the wealthiest Americans.”

Which brings me to this point: If the Republican Party’s congressional elders cannot come up with an alternative to the ACA that all its members can endorse, can this party actually govern?