AHCA is a betrayal of all the GOP’s promises on health care

It does the opposite of what they say.

The American Health Care Act, passed today by the US House of Representatives, is a law that fundamentally does the reverse of what its proponents are promising.

Having run a campaign during which he promised to cover everyone, protect Medicaid from cuts, and replace Affordable Care Act plans with “terrific” coverage, Donald Trump is now behind a bill that cuts Medicaid, covers fewer people, and allows states to replace ACA plans with stingier coverage. Having promised repeatedly to protect patients with preexisting health conditions from insurance market price discrimination, Paul Ryan is pushing a plan that removes existing protections and replaces them with hand-wavy and inadequately funded high-risk pools. Having leveraged public discontent with high deductibles and rising premiums, Republicans are pushing a bill that will leave most patients with higher out-of-pocket costs for equivalent plans and bring back skimpy plans with even higher deductibles.

That’s all happening because the GOP is committed to rolling back the taxes that pay for the Affordable Care Act, delivering a financial windfall to high-income families even though Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin swore at his confirmation hearings that the Trump administration would not pursue tax cuts for the rich.

.. When Ryan initially rolled out the American Health Care Act, he accompanied it with a Frequently Asked Questions page that offered a firm statement of moral purpose regarding the treatment of patients with preexisting conditions:

That statement is now gone from the House leadership’s website. In search of additional Freedom Caucus votes, Ryan abandoned that commitment and signed on to the MacArthur Amendment that will, in fact, allow insurers to charge higher premiums to sick people.

.. “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” Trump told the conservative Daily Signal way back in May 2015. “Every other Republican is going to cut, and even if they wouldn’t, they don’t know what to do because they don’t know where the money is. I do.”

.. That fall, his promises got even bigger. “I am going to take care of everybody,” he told 60 Minutes. “I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”

.. The bill his party is now pushing will cover fewer people, charge higher premiums, raise copayments, and raise deductibles.

The reason is that the AHCA takes a ton of money out of the health care system in order to provide a $600 billion tax cut,

.. While running for president, for example, Barack Obama promised that his health plan would lead to lower premiums for average families. When pressed, his policy team would gladly clarify that what he meant was premiums would increase at a lower-than-expected rate. That was a reasonable promise, but not nearly so politically appealing as the much grander promise the candidate made in his speeches. And the policy of misleading people worked well enough until he was actually in office, signed a major health care bill, and then people discovered that their premiums were not, in fact, going down.