House Republicans pass draconian health care legislation
Bill would end Medicaid as a guaranteed program based on need
5 May 2017
On Thursday, the US House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in a narrow 217 to 213 vote. The measure is the first major step in President Trump and the Republicans’ vow to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Barack Obama’s signature domestic legislation.
The AHCA is a reactionary bill that builds on the regressive, pro-corporate framework of the legislation popularly known as Obamacare. It is a boondoggle for the rich, slashing taxes for corporations and the wealthy. It also disproportionately takes aim at health coverage for the poor, older Americans and those with preexisting conditions.
The legislation now moves to the Senate, where some of its spending cuts face an uncertain future, with opposition from Democrats and some Republicans expected. But it is highly likely that most of the draconian provisions of “Trumpcare” will eventually be enacted.
Among these are hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor that currently covers 74 million, effectively ending it as an open-ended entitlement program. Trump promised during his presidential campaign that he would not touch Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
House Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to pull an earlier version of the bill in March, in the face of opposition from both factions of House Republicans. Last week, an amendment backed mostly by the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus was introduced that would allow states to apply for waivers for the ACA’s mandates for covering preexisting conditions and essential benefits.
This week, a second amendment…