The word “mean,” as used by President Donald Trump, has a new definition.
A couple of weeks ago, Trump used “mean” to describe the American Health Care Act – the House bill passed in May that would take away health insurance from 23 million Americans. Calling it “mean” when the Senate was working on its own version signaled that he favored strong improvements.
Last week, the Senate did come out with its own version, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that it’s only slightly different from the House bill. The CBO said Monday that the Senate bill would take away health insurance from 22 million Americans by 2026, just 1 million fewer than the House version over the same period.
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders said the Senate bill, like the House proposal, is “a blueprint to decimate the health care system, to punish the sick, the elderly, the poor and middle-income people. … The evidence is mounting: this bill is a bouquet of flowers for the wealthiest Americans but a punch in the gut for working families.”
Make the Call
The Senate was scheduled to vote on its health care bill this week. Bowing to intense opposition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has delayed the vote until after the July 4th holiday. That’s good but we need to do much more to defeat it. Keep up the pressure. Call 888-851-1916 to get connected to your senators and demand that they vote against the terrible health care bill, which would decimate Medicaid and hurt working people and vulnerable Americans.
And yet, from the moment the Senate bill was announced, Trump began making calls to rally support for it. Trump promised on the campaign trail not to cut Medicaid.
Among other things, the Senate bill would:
- Give tax handouts to the ultra-wealthy and insurance companies, creating deficits of millions of dollars;
- Cut Medicaid spending by $772 billion over the next decade;
- Cut the number of people covered under Medicaid by 15 million by 2026;
- Slash subsidies for people who can’t afford health insurance;
- Impose an “age tax” that would skyrocket the cost of health care plans sold to older Americans who don’t yet qualify for Medicare;
- Cut nearly all funding to treat opioid addiction, despite the rapidly-escalating crisis;
- Allow insurance companies to sell plans that place annual and lifetime caps on coverage, which would raise out-of-pocket costs for people who get insurance through their jobs;
- Allow states to opt out of mandating Essential Health Benefits, or EHBs, which cover prescription drugs, hospitalization, maternity leave and more.
“It’s no wonder the authors of this bill are struggling to cobble together 50 votes,” Saunders said. “This bill needs and deserves to go down in defeat.”
To recap: What do you call a piece of legislation that takes away health care from 23 million people? “Mean.” What do you call similar legislation under which 22 million will suffer? A bill that Trump would sign into law. We can’t let that happen.