Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bah Humbug: Republican's AHCA Chameleon

Albert Finney as Ebenezer Scrooge in the British 
musical Scrooge released in 1970
If Charles Dicken's fictional 19th century English curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge could somehow step into a time machine and morph into 21st century America, one of the first things he'd do is join the Republican Party.

That's my impression anyway after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released it's analysis of the Republican's American Health Care Act (AHCA) earlier today - revealing that a staggering 23 million Americans would lose their healthcare by 2026.

True to the current Scrooge-like nature of today's GOP, the motley collection of conservative politicians, policy wonks, industry lobbyists and Grover Norquistian anti-tax "starve the beast" zealots who drafted this monstrosity, Republicans are dutifully trying to spin it as a measure to curb deficit spending.

While it would (supposedly) trim $119 billion from the deficit, it shifts massive costs back onto individual states, many of whom might be forced to raise state taxes.

It could be one of the most heartless, compassion-free pieces of legislation ever devised by Congress.

As Danielle Kurtzleben reported for late this afternoon, the CBO score reveals that the AHCA would take an axe to Medicaid, cutting $884 billion from one of the bedrock social safety nets in the U.S. that provides healthcare coverage for an estimated 80 million American people.

The AHCA would also cut an additional $276 billion by sharply reducing the insurance subsidies that are one of the core foundations of the Affordable Care Act, putting the cost of healthcare out of reach for millions of people.

Take a wild guess who gets the bulk of the tax cut under the
Republican's American Health Care Act
As the Tax Policy Center reported earlier today, the AHCA is not a really a healthcare bill at all.

By capitalizing on years of Republican-created hysteria, lies and disinformation about the Affordable Care Act, House Speaker Paul Ryan and his GOP cohorts on the Hill have created a transparent trojan horse.

It's a legislative chameleon.

A carefully crafted piece of chicanery intentionally designed to dupe the working class masses who fell for Trump in the 2016 election into supporting a massive tax cut for the top 1%.

Remember all those enraged working and middle-class Americans in places like Kentucky and Ohio
who spent years listening to right-wing media's distortion of the Affordable Care Act?

The people who raved about fake "death panels" and vilified President Obama for his belief that all Americans are entitled to decent healthcare?

Once Trump was in office, poll results released by Morning Consult in February revealed that a staggering 35% of people surveyed did not realize that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were in fact the same thing - really.

Take a minute to watch Jimmy Kimmel's informal street survey back in 2013 for yourself; considering the scope and importance of the legislation this is actually pretty scary.

Anti-Obama Tea Party protester in 2012
A sizable number of those folks got access to healthcare through the insurance subsidies and healthcare exchanges established by the ACA.

Yet they raged against Obama all the same (in large part because of his skin color) even though he fought tooth and nail with Democrats to give them access to healthcare that couldn't be taken away because of pre-existing conditions.

Republican politicians call their baby the American Health Care Act.

But it's not legislation designed to provide healthcare at all.

It's essentially a piece of tax cut legislation that takes about $1.2 trillion from Medicaid and insurance subsidies and gives the vast majority of it to the top 1% in the form of a massive federal tax cut.

The numbers released by the CBO today confirm that.

I'm really not sure why Republicans have such disdain for the poor and working and middle-class in America, to me it's more than just money even though that's a big part of it.

There's something distorted, angry, cruel and dark that seems fueled by vengeance about the Republican vision for this country.

It's a toxic perception of America parroted by right-wing media constantly.

Just look at Fox News host Sean Hannity's continuing efforts to fan the flames of the widely debunked Seth Rich "assassination" fake-news conspiracy being bandied about by fringe right-wingers desperate to deflect attention from Trump's myriad ties to Russia.

Right-wing nut job Alex Jones
Even Fox News denounced the story as fake and Rich's family publicly pleaded with right-wing media to stop pushing the story.

A grassroots social media campaign to begin launching a targeted boycott of the corporate sponsors of Hannity's show began spreading and Fox News execs finally called the delusional Hannity in yesterday and told him to drop it - no doubt after fielding calls from nervous advertisers.

Even worse was the detached host of InfoWars Alex Jones calling the victims of the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester (many of whom were teens) "liberal trendies" to peddle one of his loony conspiracy theories.

Leave it to a nut job like him to find a liberal plot in teens going to an Ariana Grande concert - pathetic.

The proposed 2018 budget released by the White House calling for $3.6 trillion in spending cuts is a reflection of that kind of unhinged vicious ideology and lack of compassion.

A crockpot of cuts to educational programs, after-school initiatives, college tuition assistance, college loan subsidies, SNAP assistance and food stamps for God's sake.

At the annual benefit gala for the Children's Health Fund on Tuesday Hillary Clinton ripped into Republican's budget priorities, as reported she said:

"This administration and Republicans in Congress are mounting an onslaught against the needs of children and people with disabilities, women and seniors. (Trump's budget) shows an unimaginable level of cruelty and lack of imagination and disdain for the struggles of millions of Americans, including millions of children."

Unimaginable level of cruelty is probably putting it lightly - even Scrooge came around in the end.

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