Written By Lynette Holloway, Newsone
Health Care protest
In a major blow to Republicans’ ongoing effort to dismantle Obamacare, Senate majority leader on Tuesday postponed a vote on a measure that would have rendered health care treatment unaffordable for working-class Black Americans.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who faced resistance from inside and outside his party, acknowledged that he had more work to do to pull together at least 50 members to vote on the measure, writes The New York Times. It has been tabled until after the July Fourth recess.
McConnell, known as a formidable deal-maker, made the announcement at a news conference late-Tuesday after meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House. McConnell warned warring factions that if they cannot come together, he would be forced to strike a deal with Democratic New York Sen. Charles Schumer, an equally wily negotiator.
In short, the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is a mess. And it’s a good thing because poor Blacks and Whites, who are barely recovering from the great recession, would have been hit hard.
For months, the media have characterized Trump voters as poor Whites, including miners and steel workers. Alternet notes that the GOP health care plan “crushes working-class Blacks and Whites,” but not middle-class Whites who voted for Trump.
The failed measure proposed more severe cuts to Medicaid than the House bill, and provided more tax credits and breaks to the wealthiest Americans. At stake is a program that provides low-cost care to mostly poor people. “An estimated 75 million Americans — including children, pregnant women, disabled individuals and elderly people in nursing homes,” writes USA Today.
Former President Barack Obama condemned the Senate healthcare plan
Barack Obama sharply condemned the healthcare plan unveiled by Senate Republicans on Thursday as a “massive transfer of wealth” to the rich, at the expense of poor and middle-class Americans.
In a Facebook post hours after the Republican bill was made public, the former president made some of his most pointed comments since leaving office in defense of what remains the most signature accomplishment of his two terms.
“The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a healthcare bill,” Obama wrote. “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.”
“Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family, this bill will do you harm,” he added, while highlighting some of the more contentious provisions within the legislation, such as tax breaks to top earners and drug and insurance companies, and the potential gutting of coverage for pre-existing conditions, pregnancy and mental health.
“Small tweaks over the course of the next couple of weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.”
Obama has largely kept out of the political fray since his departure from the White House – weighing in on just a handful of Donald Trump’s actions through written statements, such as his successor’s travel ban on refugees and several Muslim-majority countries, and the decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord.
But Obama’s personal stake in the healthcare debate, and his concern that Trump and Republicans will dismantle the Affordable Care Act, has transcended the other matters that have dominated Washington under the new administration.
In his post on Thursday, Obama notably echoed Trump’s alleged assertion behind closed doors that the healthcare legislation passed by House Republicans in May was “mean”. Democrats have adopted Trump’s characterization into somewhat of a slogan to rally against the Republican healthcare proposals.
The Senate bill released on Thursday has already faced some early opposition from conservatives who say it does not go far enough in repealing and replacing Obama’s healthcare law. Obama urged Republicans on Capitol Hill to not simply be driven by meeting a campaign promise, but to instead think about the potential for millions of Americans to lose their insurance. While the Congressional Budget Office is expected to score the Senate legislation by early next week, the House-passed bill would leave 23 million more people uninsured over the next 10 years.
“I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican party,” Obama said. “Still, I hope that our senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on healthcare or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.
Written By Lynette Holloway, Newsone