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The devolution of repeal-and-replace

Eugene Robinson on

The American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and AARP adamantly oppose the new Senate bill as well. In fact, it is hard to find anyone who knows anything about health insurance who likes this monstrous creation.

And I haven't even mentioned the worst thing about the bill: It revokes the ACA's expansion of the Medicaid program, which provided health coverage for millions of the working poor, and turns Medicaid into an underfunded block-grant program to be administered by the states. GOP rhetoric about federalism and local control is smoke designed to obscure the real goal, which is to dramatically slash the federal contribution toward Medicaid.

In the short term, billions of health care dollars would effectively be transferred from states that participated in Medicaid expansion, such as California, to states that did not, such as Texas. In the long term, however, all states would suffer from inadequate federal funding of Medicaid, which is the primary payer for about two-thirds of nursing-home residents nationwide.

There is a rational motive for all of this, although it's a nefarious one that the GOP doesn't like to talk about: Slashing Medicaid spending would make room for huge tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich. Yes, senators, we see that, too.

It is tempting to let the Republican Party drive itself, Thelma-and-Louise style, off this cliff. But the human impact of the latest repeal-and-replace measure would be too tragic. Call your senator. Make a deafening noise. We must do everything we can to kill this bill.

 

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Eugene Robinson's email address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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