According to CBO and White House estimates, between 24 and 26 MILLION Americans will lose health insurance under TrumpCare — maybe more. Those who do not lose will see their premiums skyrocket. Most of those hurt will be low-income rural voters — THE SAME PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR THIS LYING SACK OF SHIT. At least they will still have their guns.
Grant County, Nebraska is one of the most pro-Trump places in America. In this rural community of about 700, the President won over 93 percent of the vote in the last election. But Grant County is also a place that has benefited hugely from the Affordable Care Act. In 2016, the law provided more than a quarter of its residents with tax credits to help them purchase health insurance.
Now, under the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, many Grant County residents would suffer steep cuts to the tax credits they’ve come to rely on. It’s a nationwide pattern: Some of the harshest consequences of the GOP’s health bill would fall on rural Republican strongholds — precisely the voters who helped elect Trump.
Among the counties where Trump won his biggest victories, nearly all would face deep cuts in tax credits under the Republican plan to replace Obamacare. And, in the parts of the country that would lose the most in tax credits, a majority of voters were Trump supporters.
The following chart shows the 25 counties where Trump captured the largest share of votes. In all but one, a typical middle-aged man buying health insurance on his own would lose money under the proposed GOP change, according to recent calculations from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
And, according to a Washington Post analysis of the Kaiser data, the counties whose residents stand to lose the most in tax credits under the new regime nearly all went for Trump in the last election. (This analysis excludes Alaska, where local voting data wasn’t available.)
Why do Trump voters seem to suffer disproportionately from the change being pitched by the president and party they swept into office?
Unlike Obamacare, GOP’s replacement plan — dubbed the “American Health Care Act” — proposes tax credits that would not differentiate by where people lived, nor would it factor in local health insurance prices.
But health care costs vary wildly across the nation, and rural places, which largely went heavily for Trump, also tend to have some of the nation’s highest health costs, in large part because they’re areas with few doctors and scant competition among health care providers.
In Grant County for instance, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that under the new GOP plan, a 40-year-old man earning around $30,000 would lose $3,670 in tax credits — more than 10 percent of his income. A 60-year-old man with the same earnings would lose $12,950.
Now, take a look at the places with the highest support for Hillary Clinton in the last election. In these liberal enclaves, where Clinton won over 80 percent of the vote, many people would actually benefit from the new GOP plan. That’s because health care tends to be less expensive in urban areas, and the GOP’s tax credit would give residents in these low-cost areas more money.
In the suburbs of Atlanta, for instance, the same middle-aged man earning $30,000 would see his tax credit increase by about $1,620 under the AHCA, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s calculations.
It is simply cheaper and easier to provide health care in places with a lot of people, said Gary Claxton, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. And because there tend to be more doctors and hospitals, insurers can play them off each other to bring down prices.
“In urban areas, it’s all about being able to negotiate efficient, lower-cost networks,” Claxton said. “That’s why there’s much more ability to get lower-cost premiums in those areas. In a rural area there’s not really much you can do by negotiating with the few existing providers that are there.”
Most people who have to purchase their own insurance qualify for Obamacare’s subsidies, which are tailored to each family’s situation. No matter how expensive health care is in your community, the law guarantees that you won’t have to spend more than a certain percentage of your income on your monthly premiums. In rural places, these sliding-scale subsidies can amount to well over $10,000 a year for older Americans, who face particularly high premiums, and they helped insulate people from the cost of rising premiums.
Under the Republican plan, the subsidies do scale with age — older people would get a few thousand dollars more than younger people. But in most cases this wouldn’t be enough to match Obamacare. In most of America, 60-year-olds earning under $50,000 a year would be better off under Obamacare’s more flexible system of subsidies, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s calculations show.
Who does benefit? In many cases, richer Americans. Obamacare currently limits its premium subsidies to those earning less than four times the poverty level — for an individual, that ceiling is around $50,000. The GOP plan would extend health care subsidies to people earning, in some cases, up to $100,000 a year. But richer Americans are more likely to already have health insurance through their employers, so they wouldn’t qualify for the tax credits, which only apply to people buying their own insurance on the private marketplace.
Trump and his White House don’t argue on the merits. They attack the institutions that produce the facts and arguments they don’t like.
They even do it preemptively. Last week, White House press secretary Sean Spicer warned that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office couldn’t be trusted to come up with accurate numbers about the costs and coverage of the Republican’s replacement for the Affordable Care Act.
“If you’re looking at the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place,” he said.
So what’s the right place? The Oval Office?
Bear in mind the director of the CBO is a Republican economist and former George W. Bush administration official who was chosen for his position by the Republican Congress in 2015.
Trump couldn’t care less about the long-term consequences, but the rest of us should. For more than four decades the U.S. budget process has depended on the CBO’s analyses and forecasts. The office has gained a reputation for honesty and reliability under both Republican and Democratic appointees. Now, it’s tainted.
This has been Trump’s MO since he first met a fact he didn’t like.
When candidate Trump didn’t like the positive employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing the economy improving under the Obama administration, what did he do? He called the official unemployment rate “such a phony number,” “one of the biggest hoaxes in American modern politics” and “the biggest joke there is.”
It’s possible to take issue with the ways the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures unemployment, but why undermine public trust in the Bureau itself?
Of course, when February’s job numbers turned out rosy, Trump’s White House embraced the monthly employment report. But the damage has been done. The BLS looks political.
Spicer tries to wrap Trump’s institutional attacks in populist garb: “I think [Trump] addressed that in his inaugural speech when he talked about shifting power outside of Washington D.C. back to the American people because for too long it’s been about stats … and it’s been about, what number are we looking at as opposed to what face are we looking at?”
Rubbish. The only way we can understand the true dimensions of the problems real people face is with data about these problems, from sources the public trusts. But if the credibility of those sources is repeatedly called into question by the president of the United States, there’s no shared truth about the problem.
When Trump disagreed with judicial findings about his original travel ban, he didn’t offer any reasons or analyses. Instead, he called the judge who issued the stay a “so-called judge” and attacked the appellate judges who upheld it as “so political” they weren’t “able to read a statement and do what’s right.”
When he blamed the intelligence agencies for the downfall of his first national security advisor, he didn’t spell out why. He just attacked them, issuing disparaging tweets with “intelligence” in quotation marks.
When he dislikes press reports, Trump doesn’t try to correct them. He assails the press as “the enemy of the American people,” “dishonest,” purveyors of “fake news,” and “the opposition party,” and questions their motives (they “have their own agenda, and it’s not your agenda, and it’s not the country’s agenda”)
When polls show that he has a low approval rating, he doesn’t say he expects the rating to improve. He attacks the entire polling industry, asserting “any negative polls are fake news.”
When scientists come up with conclusion he disagrees with, he doesn’t offer other credible sources of scientific data. He attacks science.
Trump thinks climate change is a hoax. His new head of the Environmental Protection Agency asserted last week that climate change isn’t caused by human activity.
What does the Trump administration do to prove the point? Nothing. Instead, it tells EPA staffers to remove pages from the EPA’s website concerning climate change, threatens to review all the agency’s data and publications, and cuts the budgets of all scientific research in government.
Trump’s big lies are bad enough because they subvert the truth and sow confusion. But Trump’s attacks on the institutions we rely on as sources of the truth are even more dangerous, because they make it harder for the public to believe anything.
In a democracy, the truth is a common good. Trump is actively destroying the truth-telling institutions our democracy depends on.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and ranking member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) have asked the White House to offer by Monday (March 13) any evidence showing Trump Tower was wiretapped.
A congressional aide confirmed to The Hill that Schiff and Nunes made the request in a letter to the White House. The letter was first reported by The Associated Press.
Trump has kept his distance from the press since last weekend, when he accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower before the November election.