We came within an eyelash of repealing the guts of the Affordable Care Act last night. It was every bit the dramatic moment that it was quickly built up to be, with the “skinny” repeal quickly rushed to the floor after the CBO score was announced, with GOP leadership feeling they had a deal in place for 50 votes – enough to have the Vice President break the tie. But instead of a celebration today on the White House lawn, John McCain played his maverick card once again and cast the deciding vote to save the ACA — for now.
Remember folks, Donald Trump hates to lose. The GOP bill was once defeated in the House, only to be revived and passed just a few short weeks later. This game of healthcare brinkmanship has to stop, both for the people of the United States and for the medical industry who is trying to determine how best to move forward.
Realize that the President is dedicated to not funding the cost-sharing provisions of the ACA. This will destabilize existing markets and cause insurance companies to pull out. Trump is also stopping all efforts to advertise the ACA and recruit younger people into the market, which would further destabilize premiums and deductibles. In short, he is sabotaging the system, waiting for the ACA to be squeezed until the system collapses — then claiming it was the Democrats fault. As Joe Biden famously has said, “that’s a bunch of mularky”!
Last night was an important victory in this fight. I wish it were the last time we had to defend our healthcare system, but it won’t be. When you fall one vote short, you likely try again — perhaps in another way — and soon. The two groups will work in a more bipartisan fashion than before, but Trump’s aim is to clearly to take the money in Medicaid and repurpose it toward corporate and individual tax reform. It’s the same old trickle down economics that has caused two financial disasters and a more minor, but still painful recession — all in Republican administrations that followed the same basic model — loose regulations, flatter taxes for the rich, and job creation through corporate profits supposedly meant to be reinvested, but which never are.
Do not let down your guard! This fight is not over — Phase II on the healthcare crisis is now here. We must demand our Congress work together and demand the President stop artificially accelerating the downward spiral through his unilateral executive orders.