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Team Of Evils: Trump's Pick For HHS Can't Wait To Repeal Obamacare, Privatize Medicare, Certify Orphans As 'Food'
Was second in line for Dept. of Foreheads
In a slight variation from the string of rich Republican donors, Fox News has-beens, and utterly unqualified toadying loyalists that President-elect Donald Trump has been naming to cabinet positions lately, Trump's apparent pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Georgia congresswart Tom Price, is at least a minimally qualified toadying loyalist. He at least has some experience with "health," as an orthopedic surgeon; as for "human services," he's really into slashing them. Price literally wrote House Republicans' favorite bill, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, making him the creator of what has to be one of the most frequently failed pieces of legislation ever:
As HHS secretary, Price would be the incoming administration’s point person for dismantling the sprawling 2010 health-care law, which candidate Trump promised to start dismantling on his first day in the Oval Office. The 62-year-old lawmaker, who represents a wealthy suburban Atlanta district, has played a leading role in the Republican opposition to the law and has helped draft several comprehensive bills to replace it. The GOP-led House has voted five dozen times to eliminate all or part of the ACA but has never had a chance of accomplishing its goal as long as President Obama has been in the White House.
For all we know, Price and his House buddies may just vote to repeal Obamacare one more time during the lame duck session, just out of nostalgia, before getting on to the serious business of taking health insurance away from over 20 million Americans after Trump is sworn in.
In addition to his single-minded determination to protect Americans from having health insurance, Price won his plum appointment by being a dedicated Trump toady, organizing a group of nine House committee chairs who pledged their loyalty to the Haired One and encouraging "all Americans to support him."
Price's Obamacare "replacement" is, according to Vox, simply full of great ideas, doing much more to "benefit the young, healthy, and rich — and disadvantages the sick, old, and poor." It would provide fewer protections for people with pre-existing conditions than even Paul Ryan's shitty Obamacare replacement, and would completely repeal the ACA's Medicaid expansion, so hooray, more people with treatable chronic conditions will die and reduce the surplus population. Let them be quick about it, too, because there are tax cuts to get to. Once the poors start seeing their family members dying, maybe they'll get off their lazy asses and get jobs as venture capitalists, so they can have a health savings account.
How draconian is Tom Price's plan to "replace" the ACA? Not even Ted Fucking Cruz's plan eliminates the Medicaid expansion altogether.
And just wait till Price and Ryan get started on Medicare! Both Price and Ryan support converting the health insurance program for seniors into a "premium support" program, where instead of having a guarantee of coverage, seniors would be given a voucher that would help them purchase private health insurance, assuming they can find any companies to cover their gross old-people preexisting conditions:
Democrats say that premium support would privatize Medicare, replacing the current government guarantee with skimpy vouchers -- “coupon care for seniors.” The fear is that the healthiest seniors would choose private insurance, lured by offers of free health club memberships and other wellness programs, leaving traditional Medicare with sicker, more expensive patients and higher premiums.
“Beneficiaries would have to pay much more to stay in traditional fee-for-service Medicare,” said John K. Gorman, a former Medicare official who is now a consultant to many insurers. “Regular Medicare would become the province of affluent beneficiaries who can buy their way out of” private plans.
Well, yes! Why shouldn't the nation's health care system for seniors be different from any other aspect of TrumpMerica? Mind you, it would be phased in so current retirees can keep Medicare in its current form, so only younger Americans will be hit with the full
traumablessings of the "reform." You might almost think, if you were a cynic like Mother Jones's Kevin Drum, that there's a generational bait and switch at work here:
It's pretty plain that it would be worse for seniors than the current Medicare system. After all, if it were better, Ryan wouldn't feel like he has to exempt current Medicare recipients. But everyone currently on Medicare is keenly aware of how their benefits would be affected by Ryan's vouchers, and if they aren't, AARP will tell them in no uncertain terms. So they'll fight Ryan's cuts tooth and nail.
Now, of course, Donald Trump hasn't formally announced Price as his pick for HHS, although the Washington Post says the actual announcement could come as early as Tuesday. There's still the possibility Trump could find someone worse, like actual Medicare defrauder Rick Scott, or the reanimated corpse of Josef Mengele, who has a significant following among the "alt-right." It's just a pity that climate change stubbornly insists on being real, since that means there probably won't be enough arctic ice left to leave Medicare recipients out on in Phase Two.
And let's not forget Obamacare's not dead yet -- and more people have signed up for it at this point in 2016 than last year. Get your ass online to healthcare.gov and get enrolled before December 15, because no matter what these bastards try to do to the program, it'll be harder the more current enrollees are signed up. These goobers will overreach, and that's good news for Democrats in 2018 and 2020.