Health

New GOP Health Bill: Tax Cuts For Rich, Medicaid Cuts (Video)

| by Michael Allen

The newest version of the Republican Senate health care bill reportedly includes tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts of more than $700 billion from Medicaid by 2026, and a full budget cut for Planned Parenthood for one year (video below).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released the new bill on July 13, notes Democracy Now, praising while doing so:

It would again give Americans more tools for managing their own care, and, this time, go even further. It would again devote significant resources to the fight against the opioid crisis, and, this time, go even further. The revised draft improves on the previous version in a number of ways, all while retaining the fundamental goals of providing stability and improving affordability.

Jessica Mason Pieklo, a legal analyst and vice president of law and the courts at the news site Rewire, explained the new bill to Democracy Now on July 14:

[M]any of the objections that the town halls and that constituents early on raised to the original plan, such as ending coverage for folks who are over 26, ending protections for pre-existing conditions, the federal bill all purports to include those types of things, but then it also has a provision that allows states to explicitly exclude those things in insurance products sold within state boundaries.

And so, what the Republicans have done is effectively gut all of the main protections of the Affordable Care Act and pass those down to the states, which really functions as a race to the bottom.

In particular, we see this with the Medicaid provisions, in the attacks on the Medicaid provisions. Republicans are effectively trying to phase out Medicaid altogether. And in this process, they’ve allotted caps on care. And this is a disaster, not just for women and children, but to remember that principal recipients of Medicaid are people with disabilities and the elderly.

And so, what they’re really doing is kicking people off insurance immediately or creating lifetime caps for situations that are extremely expensive to treat. This is not just a massive redistribution of wealth up, but it is a return to the times when we institutionalized people, when we refused to give them care.

Only, I would add, this time is worse, because more and more of those institutions are being run by religiously-affiliated institutions that have found lots of ways to skirt civil rights protections and other regulations. And so this is really scary.

Pieklo said that because the Republican bill explicitly targets Planned Parenthood, it may be a violation of the Byrd Act.

In addition to cutting Planned Parenthood's funding for one year, Pieklo said the Trump administration opposes the contraception benefit in Obamacare.

Huffington Post notes that a July study by Texas A&M University shows that after Texas Republican lawmakers closed down over 80 women's health clinics and cut the state's family planning budget in 2011, teen abortions rose by 3 percent.

Sources: Democracy Now, Huffington Post / Photo Credit: Images Money/Flickr, 401(K) 2012/Flickr, Tax Credits/Flickr

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