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The Premature Autopsy of the American
Health Care Act
(AHCA) of 2017.

Part 6

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A nurse

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This topic is continued here from Part 5 at the previous page

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2017-MAR-25: How the Republican defeat over health care may affect President Trumps future plans:

John Wagner et al. of the Washington Post wrote that in spite of the Republican control of the House, Senate and Presidency:

"The stunning collapse of the Republican health-care bill now imperils the rest of U.S. President Donald Trump’s ambitious congressional agenda, with few prospects for quick victory on tax reform, construction projects, or a host of other issues in the months ahead..." 1

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) said:

"It’s a momentum issue. The fact is that, you know, you came out of the gate and you stumbled."

Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform said the group of Republicans who had prevented the overhaul of Obamacare had ripped:

"... the lungs out of tax reform. ... they didn’t [just] shoot and wound health-care reform, they shot and killed permanent tax reform." 1

On a positive note, tens of millions of people in the U.S. will not lose their health care in future years, and the average life expectancy in the U.S. should not plummet.

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One factor in the health care debate has seemed strange to me. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had examined the modified version of Ryancare/Trumpcare. On MAR-23, they issued a revised report. It found that, if the modifications had been implemented, the changes compared to the original version of Ryancare would have reduced the savings in federal spending by about 50% even as it would have still caused 24 million people in the U.S. to lose their health insurance in the future.

Recent reports in the media frequently repeated the 24 million figure. However, after a casual search, I was unable to find a media account that mentioned the inevitable impacts that this would have on those who would lose their health care. Without such care, surely hundreds of thousands would become disabled, develop a very poor quality of life, and unable to work. Also, more hundreds of thousands would die because of lack of access to medical care. Yet the only mention of these inevitable results that I have seen was by Bill Maher on episode S15E09 of his TV show "Real Time with Bill Maher" on 2017-MAR-24. I find that curious.

I recall the Sheep and Goats section in chapter 25 of the Bible's Gospel of Matthew in which the "Final Judgment" is described. Jesus is quoted as implying that after death all the people from all cultures and all religions will be judged according to a single criterion: when they were alive on Earth, whether they helped other people in need; people who were hungry, sick, imprisoned, etc. The passage describes how those who did help others by following the Golden Rule were "saved", called "sheep," and would attain Heaven. Those who were not helpful were referred to as "goats" and would be sent to Hell. Assuming that this biblical passage is accurate, I wonder how the Republicans who promoted Ryancare will fare at the Judgment.

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Some comic relief:

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted a photograph of a meeting of the Republican "Freedom Caucus" which is composed of very conservative Republican Representatives in Congress. 2

All male meeting of Republicans on a women's issue

One of the remarkable features of the photograph is that all of the 26 people visible in the room are male. What generated a great deal of criticism is that the topic of the meeting was women's access to maternity and newborn health care under the proposed Trumpcare/Ryancare legislation.

AOL reported that:

"After the initial outrage subsided, Trump's director of social media shared a photo from a few days ago of the president meeting with a more moderate group, which has a few women in it." 2

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A major contributing cause to the defeat of Trumpcare/Ryancare

Harry Enten and Julia Azari, writing for FiveThirtyEight.com, gave a fascinating analysis of the political views of members of the Republican party in the House. Many other commentators discuss the conservative-moderate split in the party. But this analysis goes one step further. They wrote that:

"... there was also a second fissure that helped to take down the American Health Care Act. ... Call it establishment versus anti-establishment, or belief in governance versus political purity, or fidelity to ideology over party, or more simply: the beliefs of the Freedom Caucus." 3

To understand the beliefs of a Republican Representative, a two dimensional graph is required. Their graph's horizontal axis shows where the Representative's beliefs are in terms of moderate vs. conservative. The other axis shows where they lie on a more establishment vs. less establishment axis. Much of the opposition to the AHCA was from the Freedom Caucus members who are both more conservative and more in favor of less establishment.

Enten and Azari continue:

"One remaining question is whether the caucus will start to function like a separate party that is only loosely affiliated with a major party, as the Southern Democrats did for much of the 20th century. Southern Democrats exacted lots of legislative compromises to protect their interests, most notably shaping public policy to preserve segregation and exclude African-Americans from federal programs. Since then, the specific issues and ideas have changed. Freedom Caucus members have a pretty good idea of what kinds of bills they don’t like. The question remains what kinds of concessions — if any — can bring them on board." 3

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2017-MAR-26: Reactions to the failure of Trumpcare/Ryancare and the resultant preservation of Obamacare:

Many conservatives were profoundly disappointed because they had considered an end to Obamacare to be their highest legislative priority. Ending Obamacare by repealing the Affordable Care Act and passing the American Health Care Act would have terminated health care for tens of millions of U.S. citizens; probably caused the deaths of tens or hundreds of thousands of Americans; and not avoided disability of hundreds of thousands more. It would also have made a major shift in wealth from the poorest to the most affluent Americans. It would also have defunded Planned Parenthood, terminated that agency's contraceptive services, and indirectly increased the abortion rate. With an approval rating by the public of less than 20% the AHCA might have severely damaged the Republican Party.

President Trump tweeted a message on the morning of MAR-26, saying:

"Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!

The Freedom Caucus that was led by Representative Mike Meadows (R-NC) refused to support the American Health Care Act because it still would have left parts of the Affordable Care Act in place and it did not succeed in creating a market-based health care plan.

The Blaze, a conservative news source, conducted a poll of visitors to its web site. They asked the question: "Do you agree with Trump that the Freedom Caucus is to blame for the bill's failure?" They gave four options. As of the morning of MAR-27, 2284 persons had voted. Results were:

  • 67% selected "No, conservative principles should never be reneged on."
  • 16% said : "The failure was a group effort."
  • 13% said: "Yes. Republicans need to be united."
  • 2% said: Maybe the bill wouldn't have failed if Democrats would have supported it."

An unidentified Trump administration official allegedly said that Bannon:

"... told the president to keep a sh-t list on this. He wants a running tally of [the Republican lawmakers] who want to sink this. ... Not sure if I'd call it an 'enemies list' per se, but I wouldn't want to be on it."

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This topic continues with Part 7, the bill's aftermath, at the next page

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. John Wagner, et al., "Trump’s political agenda gets tougher after health-care fiasco," The Toronto Star, 2017-MAR-25, https://www.thestar.com/
  2. Kelsey Weekman, "Photo of Mike Pence leaves Twitter users infuriated," AOL, 2017-MAR-23, at: https://www.aol.com/
  3. Harry Enten & Julia Azari, "The Two Cracks In The Republican Party," FiveThirtyEight, 2017-MAR-26, at: https://fivethirtyeight.com/

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Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted on: 2017-MAR-26
Latest update: 2017-APR-11
Author: B.A. Robinson
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