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Trumpcare makes single-payer sound great again

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Now the Senate has a zombie Trumpcare bill, too.

Back in March, you may recall, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) called off a showdown vote on its effort to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

Good riddance, said many Americans. The bill would have cause 23 million people to lose their health care, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, and cut Medicaid spending by more than $800 billion.

Yet, in a visual display of cluelessness about what this draconian legislation could do to human lives, Ryan and other GOP leaders celebrated how much money the legislation would save.

Not completely heartless, of course, Ryan argued that the bill would provide more "access" to health care. But critics -- like me -- argued back that "access" to President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, to name one pricey example, would not do me much good if I can't afford the fees.

Yet, Ryan resurrected the bill like a zombie and House Republicans passed it in May with no Democratic votes. President Trump staged a photo-op celebration in the Rose Garden, even as Senate Republicans declared the zombie to be DOA at their doorstep.

The senators wanted to pass their own version even before the president, in one of his bizarre flip-flops, described the House bill as too "mean."

But, alas, Senate Republicans came up with their own clunker of a bill that the CBO estimated would grow the uninsured by 22 million and cut Medicaid by $772 billion. That's not much improvement.

As it became apparent that it would not get enough votes to pass, even among Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled that bill before a vote could be taken. But later returned with a desperation move: repeal and delay -- repeal the ACA now, but with a two-year delay in implementation, during which Congress -- through some miracle perhaps -- could come up with a replacement.

Trump seemed to flip-flop a couple of times between repeal-and-delay and "Let Obamacare die," while he declared, "I'm not going to own it."

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(c) 2017 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

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