While it has been mildly entertaining to watch Trump's healthcare plan slammed by liberals and conservatives, that's only a thin silver lining to the unconscionable piece of garbage that has been named the American Health Care Act. While conservatives have been concerned that the tax credits for insurance premiums are simply one more entitlement programs for the poor (which in of itself is confusing as tax-funded vouchers for private schools have been a longstanding strategy for the Republicans), the reality is that the bill is actually an entitlement program for the already rich and powerful.
Healthcare analysts estimate that 10 to 20 million Americans will lose their health insurance under this plan. The populations that stand to lose the most? Low-income Americans, our elders, and women. What's going unsaid is that rich men stand to gain the most.
The American Health Care Act touts the same fiscal bullshit that has never helped the average American: deregulation and tax cuts. The fact is that tax cuts to the wealthy never "trickle down." It's so crazy that we even tout "trickle down" as a reasonable option. Why would we think that under-resourced Americans with the cards stacked against them should get a trickle?!
The same criticism applies to Medicaid block funding, another part of the Republican plan. Not only does Trump want to repeal the Medicaid expansion that was part of the Affordable Care Act; he wants to move to block funding of that program too. That means that states will get a hunk of money without any guidance or regulation on how it must be spent. Legislators will have free rein to redefine who qualifies for Medicaid without any accountability to make sure that our most disenfranchised communities get the coverage. People of color, women, those who suffer from mental illness, are all groups that have never gotten what they deserve when getting it depends upon the goodwill of those in power.
The bottom line is that deregulation always benefits those in power. For those white, middle-class Americans who voted for Trump because they wanted to "drain the swamp"? This is the opposite and it's just proving what the rest of us knew all along: Donald Trump is a rich, white man and the definition of the swamp. In fact, that swamp used to be a beautiful pond until people like Trump polluted it in order to amass their fortunes.
Healthcare costs continue to be a major cause of bankruptcy. Under the Affordable Care Act, the credit amount that citizens got towards buying insurance was based on the actual cost of insurance in their local market. Under Trump's new plan, everybody gets a flat-rate voucher that is a pittance compared to actual premium costs. The result? Americans can't afford health insurance and that only exacerbates the bankruptcy problem.
Furthermore, the Republicans are abusing their power in the most fiscally unethical way possible. When it will benefit them to deregulate, they do. But where's their precious deregulation when it comes to women's health? Republicans don't like Planned Parenthood, so bam! Like the bully on the elementary-school playground, they've banned ALL funding to Planned Parenthood despite the fact that most Planned Parenthood operations don't even perform abortions.
But I won't waste my breath citing facts. Our current presidential administration has no regard for them and freely synthesizes "alternative facts" in the blink of an eye. We elected a ruthless businessman to lead a corrupt military-industrial-congressional complex. It's no surprise that the result is a healthcare plan that won't actually improve the health of the average American.
JESS GUH, MD, is a member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the independent, uncompromised, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site. Her work, and that of colleagues JOHN GRANT, DAVE LINDORFF, GARY LINDORFF, ALFREDO LOPEZ, LINN WASHINGTON, JR., and the late CHARLES M. YOUNG, can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.