While we were making golden shower jokes, the Senate voted to kill the Affordable Care Act, setting in motion a chain of events that will leave 30 million Americans without healthcare

As we were all fully engaged in discussing presidential water sports yesterday, and whether or not it would even be possible for a germaphobe-in-chief to property enjoy a golden shower, the real work of government marched on.

Jeff Sessions, Trump’s allegedly racist nominee for Attorney General, after exaggerating the extent to which he was involved in prosecuting civil rights cases, responded to a question about whether or not lawyers “with secular beliefs” could comprehend the truth as well as religious attorneys by saying, “Well, I’m not sure.” Ben Carson, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), said that he couldn’t promise that contracts awarded by HUD under his leadership won’t go to Trump-owned businesses. Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, said he wouldn’t call Vladimir Putin a war criminal. Donald Trump stood beside a mountain of blank paper which he told reporters were “business plans” and announced that he would not be placing his assets in a blind trust, like every other president in modern history, but instead handing them over to his sons. And, as you may have heard by now, Republican members of the Senate voted to kill Obamacare without offering a solution of their own to replace it.

In a vote early this morning, the United States Senate voted to pass a budget resolution setting in motion the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Democrats attempted, of course, to diminish the negative impact, by offering resolutions to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions, allowing those 25 and younger to stay on the insurance policies of their parents, and any number of other things. All these attempts, however, failed. So, if you happen to be one of those 52 million non-elderly Americans with a pre-existing condition, good luck to you. Assuming things go forward like it looks as though they will, you may not have as long to live as you thought that you did.

[The above image, taken on January 7, shows Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Republican members of Congress laughing it up after signing legislation clearing the way to kill the Affordable Care Act and eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The Senate pushed things a little further down that path last night.]

For what it’s worth, I didn’t think it would happen like this. Given that several Republican Senators had said that they wouldn’t vote to kill Obamacare until they had a plan of their own to replace it with, I thought that we might have a little more time. Just days before the vote, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander had said, “We have to take each part of it and consider what it would take to create a new and better alternative and then begin to create that alternative and once it’s available to the American people, then we can finally repeal Obamacare.” Republican Senator Tom Cotton, who had likewise suggested a delay, said, “It would not be the right path for us to repeal Obamacare without laying out a path forward.” And Senator Bob Corker, who’d said just a few days ago, “There’s more and more concerns about not doing it simultaneously,” had offered an amendment, among with Alexander, Cotton and Rand Paul, that would have delayed the repeal of Obamacare by five weeks, giving them time to come up with a replacement plan. But I guess they were somehow beaten back into submission. According to today’s New York Times, Corker withdrew the amendment late last night.

For what it’s worth, President-elect Trump said he would be putting forward a replacement plan just as soon as his nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Representative Tom Price, is confirmed. Of course, I have my doubts. Given what I know about the situation, I can’t imagine that they’ll come up with anything that rivals Obamacare, especially given the fact that they’ve had eight years to work on a replacement with nothing to show for it. But, as we discussed before, maybe it’s not their intention, despite what they may say, to offer a replacement plan. Maybe they only want to “repeal and delay.” That would, after all, put a lot more money into the pockets of their rich donors, who had been handed two tax increases under the Obama administration in order to pay for provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The following comes from Politico.

…“It means that there’s a large, permanent tax cut before we even get to tax reform,” said Ryan Ellis, former tax policy director for Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform.

“To me personally, that’s the best part about repealing Obamacare,” he said. “Because on the health care side of it, you have this complicated ‘replace’ that you have to turn to after that, but on taxes, it’s all easy — it’s all dessert.”

For those in the top 0.1 percent of incomes, repealing the investment tax alone would mean $154,000 in annual savings, according to the Tax Policy Center…

So, yes, your Senators voted last night to take away healthcare for people with pre-existing conditions without having a new program to replace it with. And we have no one to blame but ourselves. We knew this would happen when we voted for Trump, but we voted for him anyway, because we wanted change. We wanted to “shake things up.” Well, guess what? Things break when you shake them up. And now a lot of us are going to be spending our days and nights worrying about how we’re going to care for our loved ones, and praying that we don’t become ill.

Trump, however, seems happy.

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 9.24.14 AM

Paul Ryan, for what it’s worth, just said in a town hall meeting that we shouldn’t worry. When confronted by a man in the audience who said that he would have been dead without Obamacare, Ryan gave his word that a replacement plan was on its way. The man, Jeff Jeans of Sedona, Arizona, a self-described “lifelong Republican,” after thanking President Obama for saving his life with the Affordable Care Act, asked Ryan, “Why would you repeal the Affordable Care Act Without a replacement?” Ryan responded to the cancer surviver by saying, “Oh, we wouldn’t do that.” He then went on to say, “We want to replace it with something better.”

We shall see.

Here’s the video of Ryan. Do you believe him?

Now, are you ready to do something about it? Pick up the phone, look up the number for your member of Congress, call their office, and say, “I demand that he/she not vote to kill the Affordable Care Act without first coming up with a workable plan that covers as many people, and does so while protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions.” Will you do that for me?

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33 Comments

  1. Jcp2
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    My guess is that there are a group of supporters that feel insulated against breakage from shaking, as well as a group of supporters that already were broken before shaking. The group that might be broken while shaking? They probably didn’t vote R, so why should Trump care?

  2. Janette Rook
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I bet you’re right. Or they’ll have a replacement like an HRA/HSA that is so cost prohibitive & complicated that it’s nearly useless. It’s so upsetting to see the progress melt away so quickly

  3. M
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Best case scenario is that they just bring back Obamacare, calling it the Trump Gold Plan, but I doubt that will happen, as it would mean spending tax dollars on the non-wealthy.

  4. Janette Rook
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    hahaha!! That might do it if he can get his name in lights & all the gilt

  5. Janette Rook
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of this conversation I had with a right wing pilot one day. I asked him, “So if people don’t have money, they should just go without & die?” He responded simply, “Yes.”

    It’s so mean spirited, hard to debate with that. I said if he was so against social spending, I’d like the 100k+ back that was spent by the govt for his job training (he did not serve in a conflict/war). Nasty jerk.

  6. Meghan Kathleen
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Even if they just get rid of the individual mandate (and try to keep the preexisting conditions/lifetime cap clauses, because they’re extremely popular), the market will collapse. This isn’t Chicken Little; it’s what happened in Washington 20 years ago when our version of the ACA dropped the individual mandate. I know the Republicans don’t ever spare a thought for our blue blue state, but it’s not like they’re doing anything original, or anything that didn’t crash and burn.

  7. Lynne
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Janette, at least he admitted it. I ask a similar question about if ERs should be required to accept all patients and it is amazing the way some folks will dodge that question. They say, “charity will cover it”

    nope, it didn’t before which is why we have that law about ERs now.

    Then they make arguments which could be summed up as “The Free Market Fairy will wave her magic wand and everyone will be able to afford emergency health care”

    You can’t argue with people like that, it is like arguing if there is a God.

  8. Rick Cronn
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Trump’s propaganda machine made up the story about the Russian/notmypresident blackmail info. Buzzfeed took the bait and got the clicks. CNN got some ratings. Notmypresident got to cement into fact that the media are liars out to get him. All that happened while the dirty deeds were done.

  9. Pete Baker
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    There will be no replacement, the ACA *was* the Republican healthcare plan, until they realized Obama was in to it too.

  10. P Anne Palmer
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I hope this starts the Real Revolution, we have nothing to lose but our chains…

  11. Andy LaBarre
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I don’t think it’s appropriate to reference golden showers. Trump ran a respectful campaign, please treat him the same.

    [note: The above comment by Commissioner LaBarre was sarcasm.]

  12. Janette Rook
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Yeah, true, at least he was honest. All the kindly folks’ kind words, fervent prayer offers & vague wishes don’t usually fix a kid’s broken arm or cancer either.

  13. kjc
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    pete baker: truth.

  14. Hagopian Handmaid
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I think Debbie Dingell already supports Obamacare.

    There is going to be women’s march in Ann Arbor on the 21st of January. I hope we can all be there to show our support. It’s a chance for the Sanders people and Clinton people to get together and make a public show of opposition. I’ll be gathering friends and getting out there. We know that nothing impresses Trump like a crowd. As a bonus by doing it here we limit our carbon footprint.

    Could you promote this event? Could you do that for me?

  15. Meta
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    A lot of Michiganders will be effected.

    From The Bridge:

    Hundreds of thousands of state residents would likely be affected by a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, including those in counties that went hard for the law’s critic-in-chief, President-Elect Donald Trump, according to a Bridge Magazine analysis of government data.
    The implications of an immediate repeal of the ACA could be felt by nearly 1-in-10 Michigan residents, and as much as 13 percent of the population in places as different from one another as the Detroit-area and rural Emmet County.

    Consider: In Wayne County, dominated by Democratic-heavy Detroit, 12.7 percent of county residents receive health care through a combination of ACA enrollment or Medicaid expansion. In Cheboygan County, at the top of the mitt, where Trump trounced Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by a 2-to-1 margin, 13.1 percent of residents depend on ACA coverage or Medicaid expansion.

    If the Republican-led Congress, with a likeminded president, also change the way that traditional Medicaid is funded, as many as two million Michiganders could be impacted by Washington’s dramatic health-care changes, enrollment data show.

    Read more:
    http://bridgemi.com/2017/01/the-michigan-counties-most-vulnerable-if-obamacare-is-repealed/

  16. Lynne
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I won’t be attending the Women’s March in Ann Arbor because I will be attending the Women’s March in DC but I have already been telling the women I know who can’t make it to check out local marches.

  17. Kim
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of the Sessions confirmation, have you read Coretta Scott King’s 1986 letter yet?

    http://on.msnbc.com/2ibtZHp

  18. Meta
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    The New York Times: “House Joins Senate in Approving Groundwork to Revoke Health Care Law”

    The House joined the Senate on Friday in laying the groundwork for speedy action to repeal the Affordable Care Act, approving the budget blueprint passed by the Senate on Thursday that would allow Republicans to tear up the health care law without the prospect of a Senate filibuster.

    The House vote, coming a week before President-elect Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, places Republicans squarely in position to fulfill their long-held desire to dismantle President Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

    The quick action by Congress this week adds urgency to the vexing question of what comes next. While pursuing repeal with zeal, Republicans are far from reaching any consensus on how to go about replacing the health care law, under which more than 20 million Americans have gained health insurance.

    “This is a critical first step toward delivering relief to Americans who are struggling under this law,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin said.

    Read more:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/13/us/politics/affordable-care-act-senate-budget.html

  19. jean henry
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Sanders and Shumer ACA rally in Detroit Sunday. This is a smart move. We need to mobilize quickly. Right after hearing about it, the next story was a CDC report showing very poor health outcomes for people in rural states– Trump supporters. In fact one detailed analysis of Trump voters that I posted a while back showed the only real clear distinguishing characteristic beyond party was poor health outcomes.
    So I see this as an opportunity to talk across political ideology to personal impact and possibly on this issue unify the working and middle class.
    Bernie’s the right guy for this issue. Kudos to him. This time.

  20. Lynne
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I wish I could go to that but I am volunteering with a dog rescue that day.

  21. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    The worst thing about this is these so-called “Christians” just simply want to destroy the Affordable Care Act because it is the hallmark legislation on a black man.

  22. Maria Huffman
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    It is a terrible turn of events. The idea that they can replace it swiftly seems unlikely. People complained of high costs..that probabaly won’t change much. Health care costs, alot. So eat your veggies, exercise and keep your blood pressures down and find a good doctor that you do trust..perhaps some of these doctors who feel so beholden to the hospitals and corporations they work for will deliver better care with less regulation. Perhaps.
    I think we would need to find out in this area if UMHS intends to take all comers to the ER with the repeal of the ACA or not and the same with St. Joes and if they are turning away people at the ER that they be taken to task for that.

  23. Maria Huffman
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    So we would have to start with the heads of both hospitals making public statements regarding their policy of ER visits, and what they plan to do about delivering healthcare in the face of the repeal of the ACA, clearly to our community. I think that is a very logical place to expect a response.

  24. Jean Henry
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Everybody, if you can, please go. This Sunday. Bernie and Shumer. The next day is MLK day. Please go!

    http://www.michigandems.com/save-health-care-rally

  25. Jean Henry
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    I care about this issue so much I am willing to suffer through a Bernie rally. And I hate crowds. Those of you who love him and think a huge group of people yelling is a party have no excuse:-)

  26. Maria Huffman
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    So I worked at .detroit Medical Center and on the wall hung a pledge to take care of anyone who entered, regardless of who they were, and it was true, they did.
    This idea of shipping a person somewhere else and not to the nearest hospital is basically total bullshit. UMHS has five billion dollars they sit on.
    They can share.

  27. Maria Huffman
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    What do the different health care lobbyists want?
    That is going to matter.
    UMHS views itself as a an academic research center..well..the sad thing is that may make people research subjects in exchange for health care services. And that would have to involve informed consent..which is not a strong point with them. And research is not medical care…I keep pointing this out. So it a perilous point in health care delivery for this county, quite frankly.

  28. Maria Huffman
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    no, Trump did not run a respectful campaign.he mouthed off, he said things he shouldn’t have, he incited violence at his rallies, unthinkingly I thought, and he carried on about that huge wall.. I think many people count him as a blowhard bullshitter type of guy..obviously , I think he is that as well..but he is the President for all intensive and extensive purposes…and he will be making decisions that matter to all of us. The intelligence community has spanked his butt, let us see if has learned his lesson and he will be respectful towards them from now on.

  29. Maria Huffman
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Trump has to deal with the Tea Partiers..who, ya know…have an agenda that may not square with his view of the world.
    I honestly hope Trump pulls it together and turns out to be a decent President

  30. Maria Huffman
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    To Bob K. I am not sure why people want to dismantle ACA..my understanding is that it is cumbersome to have, with many regulations. It cost more than people thought. I never thought it was because of President Obama directly, or at all. iI think it just was more money people had to pay out than before and no one ever likes that.

  31. wobblie
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    The Republican don’t care about the debt. So the first thing they will do is repeal the taxes on the top 1% that helped fund ACA. Their rich friends will be glad for the $ 100,000 + per year tax break. Then they will repeal the mandate and the penalties that also fund the ACA. Young healthy working class folks who think they can get by without insurance will be happy. Then they will turn around and keep the popular parts of the act, ie. no denial because of pre-existing conditions, children get to stay on parents insurance to 27. The medicaid expansion they might also leave alone (they will probably leave the dirty work of screwing the poor to state governments so we will get a patch work as is the case now) . They will just pay for it all by expanding the debt. They just raised the debt ceiling by 9 billion I think. So who knows they might still keep the subsidies.
    They will make the insurance companies happy by privatizing Medicare. Everybody is happy except poor old folks, and perhaps poor young unhealthy folks. And of course the tax paying class of folks who will bear the burden while the 1% use that $100,000 a year tax credit to gain yet more power over our society.

  32. Glen S.
    Posted March 19, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I know this is very last-minute … but EMU is hosting a “town hall” meeting on the fate of the Affordable Care Act today from 4:30-6 p.m. in the McKenny Union ballroom.

    Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, State Representatives Adam Zemke, Donna Lasinski, Yousef Rabhi, Ronnie Peterson, and Marianne Udow-Phillips, Executive Director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation are scheduled to appear.

    According to the meeting announcement: “The town hall is free and open to the public. All are welcome and no ticket is required.”

    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/aca-healthy-michigan-what-does-repeal-mean-for-michigan-tickets-32854749440

  33. Eel
    Posted March 19, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Please report back.

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