Sunday, May 7, 2017

Pop a cold one for one cold-hearted vote

Look at the smiles on those faces. Look at the preening.

You'd have thought President Trump and the beaming Republican cohorts standing behind him – Stephen Colbert called it "the strategic white persons reserve" – had just cured cancer. Or accepted ISIS's surrender. Or returned man to the moon. Or brokered Middle East peace.

No. No. No. And no.

What they celebrated was something that would relieve millions of Americans of their health coverage. Bully.

True, also, however: They were celebrating something that could kick many out of office in 2018 and make the smirker-in-chief a one-termer.

Beer and high-fives all around -- for voting to do what 55 percent told Gallup they shouldn't: repeal the Affordable Care Act. Then there's the 87 percent (March CNN poll) who oppose lifting the requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions.

The Republican response on that matter is so very arrogant: maintain the protections on pre-existing conditions (that is, in states that don't opt out entirely), but let insurers charge more.

The Center for American Progress has put a pencil to this and predicts that a person with diabetes would pay an additional $5,600 annually for the same coverage as under the Affordable Care Act. For someone with cancer? Just forget it.

Don't call it Trumpcare. Call it Trumpdoesn'tcare.

This is the man who said that his approach to health care would mean coverage for everybody. This is the man who, hours after the Republicans' disgraceful act, complimented the Australian prime minister on that country's single-payer system, saying, "You have better health care than we do."

By the way, this isn't the first time Trump has praised single-payer health systems. But, you see, he won the GOP nomination by cozying up to tea party anti-government fundamentalists and the hyper-pompous, hyper-callous religious right. WWJD be damned. The Donald? He's just riding the nag that delivered him.

Someone tell us how what this bill would do to improve health care in America. Anyone?

You won't hear it from the American Medical Association. Not from the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or the American Psychological Association.

By review, that's: No. No. No. No. And no. All have condemned that which has made our president smile.

You see, those organizations actually have considered what this bill would do. The Republicans in the House voted to pass it without knowing or caring. Had they cared to know, they would have waited for Congressional Budget Office analysis.

Well, here's what we do know. This measure would cut $880 billion over a decade from Medicaid, a lifeline to 74 million Americans, including the poorest of the poor and the elderly.

You may be saying, "Good. We spend too much. We need to reduce the deficit." But that's not where any savings would go. Most of the money yanked from the poor -- $594 billion – would go to well-off Americans in the form of tax cuts.

In other words, as the E.J. Dionne writes in the Washington Post, Trump and Co. "don't care a whit about what they do to the health-care system or how their bill endangers lives."

Jim Newell in Slate calls it not health care reform but "a dramatic piece of upward wealth distribution." Yes, resources that now help needy people flowing to people who have all they need. It's mean. It's reprehensible.

Pop a cold one, Republicans. For this cold move, you are going to get popped by voters at the next opportunity.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:

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