Remember when Sarah Palin had that psychotic episode in 2009 and decided the Affordable Care Act created “Death Panels“? Like a lot of things that happen in The Quitter’s life, it was all in her head. She made enough fuss about her delusions that the language of the bill providing for counseling was modified. But the “death panels” existed only in The Quitter’s overheated imagination.
Fast-forward eight years to the Republicans’ shiny, new American Health Care Act. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has had a look at the proposed law and found that it would likely cause some 24 million people to be without health insurance over the next ten years. Remember, as recently as January, Trump was promising that his Administration would provide “insurance for everybody.” Instead, all of the health insurance coverage gains under the Affordable Care Act would be rolled back to zero.
The bill, which has the strong support of both the President and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R, Satan), would save the Federal government $337 billion over the same ten years. That sounds like a big savings, but it comes at the expense of Medicaid coverage. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the “savings” would come at the expense of Medicaid coverage. That’s not all; Medicaid spending would be cut by $880 billion over the same period, but the “savings” is only $337 billion because the rest if lost on tax cuts for the rich. The bill would abolish the 3.8-per-cent Medicare tax on investment income and the 0.9-per-cent surtax on ordinary income that the A.C.A. applied to people who make more than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year. Those are taxes on the rich, of course.
So let’s be perfectly clear about this: most the 24 million citizens who will lose health insurance coverage do so to fund a couple of tax cuts for the richest Americans.
The “savings” are illusory. People will still get sick. They will seek medical treatment later than they should. The delayed treatment will make their illness more expensive to treat. They won’t be able to pay for it. So the rest of us will in th form of higher health care costs. We know the sad cycle all too well.
This is what a real death panel looks like. As ever, they’ve wrapped themselves in the American flag, and wear flag lapel pins. But it’s white guys in suits and expensive ties, to give more money to the rich so that health care is unaffordable to the rest of us. But we’ll have to excuse our death panelists now; they need to go wash their hands.