Photo by Chip Somodevilla

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday afternoon that the GOP so called ‘healthcare” vote will not take place this week.

By Karanja Gaçuça

Healthcare is in quotes here because the GOP bill is not a bill about healthcare. When even Trump calls the GOP bill “mean” then you know that there is an issue.

Ali Velshi on MSNBC gave a very clear and transparent breakdown, whereby he explained exactly what the full implications of the bill would be for average American families and it was not pretty. As distressing as this news was, seeing the bill in numbers is definitely a refreshing change for cable news where discussion about the political horse race usually dominates clouding the ability to break through with the actual facts.

Let’s be clear. The GOP is not and has never been interested in healthcare as John Boehner very honestly explained. The GOP’s view of healthcare is that it is and should remain a privilege accessible only to those who can afford it. This has been the status quo in the American employer provided healthcare system.

Photo credit: Getty

Obamacare sought to extend insurance to everyone by providing incentives to the private healthcare industry. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) promised the insurance industry greater volume in increased uptake of health insurance by the public via healthcare mandates in exchange for providing reduced more affordable premiums.

The second major incentive was the ACA tax credits provided to low income Americans so that they can afford their premiums. Both of these types of incentives were provided for in Obamacare as a result of negotiations with the GOP in exchange for giving up the public option which President Obama had run on.

This compromise by President Barack Obama is the one single most egregious mistake made by the then president and is at the crux of the problem we now have with the ACA. This was an unnecessary compromise that Obama pushed Democrats to accept despite a then 60 vote majority in the senate.

It was a compromise made because president Obama wanted the ability to boast bi-partisan support of his healthcare bill. In perhaps an example of President Obama’s lack of previous executive experience, it appears that the former president failed to foresee that the compromises made to republicans only served to weaken his bill. Republicans would start immediately running against the aspects of the bill that they themselves had pushed, and in particular the individual healthcare mandate.

A public option providing the ability of citizens to buy into Medicaid at an affordable premium would have served two very important purposes. It would have provided additional revenue into Medicaid and it would have stepped in to provide insurance in states or counties where the individual market exchanges are unavailable. This would have served to strengthen Obamacare and the current GOP attacks against the individual mandate and health insurance companies fleeing the individual marketplace would now be moot.

All of the above said, Obamacare is indeed working for the majority of people who previously did not have insurance, as well as greatly improved healthcare for many who had employer insurance. Sadly the individual mandate remains unpopular and health insurance companies fleeing the individual market exchanges remains an issue. The best way to resolve these would be a public option to provide affordable health insurance.

Republicans are not interested in providing a public option, nor is their priority to expand access to healthcare. The GOP priority is in removing money from the ACA in order to make this money available for further tax cuts for the top 2% of income earners. We should stop pretending that the GOP is interested in healthcare and the media has a responsibility to cover this process for what it is – a taxcut bill in the name of healthcare.

President Trump calling the Bill mean, along with sustained attacks on the bill as a tax cut plan seem to have managed to seep through. GOP senators have gone on record saying that they are now open to removing the investment tax cuts from the bill. This would reduce the cuts to Medicaid to $500 Billion rather than the currently slated $700 billion. Half a trillion in cuts to Medicaid would still be devastating and Americans everywhere will be affected by these cuts.