Littwin: The CBO tells the hard truths about Trumpcare (column)
Fair and Unbalanced
It’s official. The CBO projects that the Senate version of Trumpcare would not be quite as mean as the House version. Instead of 23 million people losing their health care coverage by 2026, the Senate number goes all the way down to … 22 million.
We can start there and, really, if we have even a little of what Donald Trump daringly calls “heart,” we can stop there.
There’s only one question to consider: Under what circumstance is America better, much less great, by removing health care coverage for 22 million people? For all its problems, the great triumph of Obamacare is that the uninsured rate in the country has plummeted. If the Senate plan passes, the number of uninsured Americans is projected to grow from 27 million to 49 million by 2026.
Is there anything left to say? I mean, we can debate all the other stuff, and, yes, there’s much to debate. We can talk about Mitch McConnell’s cynical plan to rush the bill through the Senate. But once you get to the 22 million, it’s hard to consider anything else.
Still, for the record, we’ll note the cruel Medicaid cuts, which would reduce projected spending by $780 billion. Yes, that’s three-quarters of a trillion dollars. Also the huge tax cut for the rich. The removal of lifetime caps. The essential health benefits that states can waive. The coming of even higher deductibles, which Republicans keep saying needed to be addressed and yet which would soar, under the GOP’s silver plan, to $6,000. The crushing premium hikes, particularly for those nearing Medicare age. A 64-year-old making $56,800 would pay — get this — $20,500. And then there’s the bizarre six-month waiting period to renew coverage — the plan that would replace the hated mandate. Under the bill, if you have no coverage and get disagnosed with, say, cancer in June, the doctor will see you in December, if you’re not already dead.
But we shouldn’t have to go there. If we know just this, that 22 million who have coverage now won’t be covered over the next 10 years and that, even worse, 15 million people who have insurance now won’t be covered in a year, we don’t need to know anything else.
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