It feels like Sen. Ted Cruz just filed another bill to repeal Obamacare without a replacement. And Donald Trump said, “Hold my beer.”
The still-free press are reporting that administration budget chopper Mick Mulvaney yesterday briefed the media on Trump’s latest slash-and-burn 2018 budget proposal. He bragged that Trump would balance the budget by eliminating the child care tax credit and the earned income tax credit — benefits for working families — for undocumented immigrants, as well as $800 billion in Medicaid benefits.
Reporter: “Whether they’re here illegally or not, those families have American-citizen children.”
Mulvaney: “We have all kinds of other programs for poor kids.”
Reporter: “You’re cutting that, too.”
Congress doesn’t need to take the fall for immoral, ruthless attacks on health care for the poor and ill, and related threats to the health of every American. Trump is going to do it for them. And Mulvaney had just been schooled by the member of Sputnick, a Russian propaganda outfit pretending to be news media. Even the Russians are disgusted by Trump’s reality show.
Mulvaney went on to let it slip that Trump’s proposed growth rate is based on 1.9 percent. Funny, there’s video of Trump boasting many, many, many times that under his leadership, the nation would see an annual growth rate of 3 percent for the next decade. No cuts in Medicaid. Tax cuts for the middle class. Those are but Trump’s salad days. As a famous writer put it, “My salad days. When I was green in judgment: cold in blood. To say as I said then!”
Today the Congressional Budget Office will release impact figures, finally catching up with the House of Representatives version of the American Health Care Act, passed narrowly on May 4 by partisan approval. That the House passed it without knowing how much it would affect Americans is not the point: Thanks to the Kaiser Foundation, we already know it will make health care unaffordable for many millions with sky-high premiums and unconscionable pre-existing clauses.
“I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now,” candidate Trump once told 60 Minutes. “People are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.” Salad, anybody?
What if you’re not poor or needy, why should you care? And you’ve got health care insurance from your employer. Oh but wait, that might change, too. Employees could be required to pay the entire cost of their health care plans. Or be denied a company health care plan at all.
No one is immune to cancer, and Trump’s proposed budget would cut $1 billion from the National Cancer Institute. Got heart problems from all that rich food? Another $575 million from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Travel overseas on business or vacation, do you? Trump would cut $575 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. And a $5.8 billion cut from the National Institutes of Health.
And then there’s proposed cuts to the National Science Foundation and other scientific research endeavors that help with things like applying nanotechnology to human health.
The former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden, who resigned in January, said Trump’s proposed cuts are “unsafe at any level of enactment. Would increase illness, death, risks to Americans and health care costs.” The CDC is 700 positions short. At NIH, staff say patient care and clinical work is suffering. Positions open too at the Office of Public Health and Preparedness and Response, which manages the nation’s stockpile of emergency medical provisions. This is not AHCA related, this is all on Trump.
Whatever the Senate comes up with for its version of the AHCA is anti-climactic, compared with Trump’s sweeping and mind-numbing proposed budget. True, this is a proposed budget and even though Congress will likely rubber-stamp it, it’s kind of the thought that counts, if you know what we mean. Again, Trump’s involvement only makes something worse.
The lack of centered, sober, compassionate, moral leadership dumps the nation’s health care — for everyone except a multi-millionaire — in the hands of Trump and the Republicans. And if House is the example, the Republicans are not known for their bedside manners.