The emerging Senate version of the American Health Care Act makes it starkly and inescapably evident that Republicans are going to gouge poor people. The Hill reported this morning that the Senate’s version of the AHCA would cut Medicaid even more drastically than the version passed by the House:
The proposal would start out the growth rate for a new cap on Medicaid spending at the same levels as the House bill, but then drop to a lower growth rate that would cut spending more, known as CPI-U, starting in 2025, the sources said.
It’s a near-apocalyptic scenario for the poor, people with disabilities, and many middle-class families as well. Republicans know this. It’s why they’re writing the bill in secret. It’s why they’re avoiding townhalls. But opacity will not protect them forever. If they pass this bill, they’ll create their own Grenfell Tower moment: People will die, and their loved ones will know who is responsible.
They’ll also set up an easy move for Democrats. Politico reports that only 42 percent of Trump voters strongly approve of the president they supported. Regarding the AHCA specifically, only 39 percent of voters overall support the bill. Nobody likes to lose an entitlement. Democrats find themselves in an almost enviable position: If they run on a full-throated defense of health care access as a precious right, their message will resonate.
Democrats must stop pretending that the old rules still apply, while the GOP goes about destroying every governing norm in sight. There are no “good” Republican officials right now, at least not any who are willing to take a genuine stand against this health care bill and the secretive way it is being crafted. Democrats may not be able to prevent Republicans from passing the AHCA now. But they should raise hell anyway. It’s their best path to reclaiming government—and to rectifying this impending tragedy.