THE MORNING PLUM:
With the Republican campaign to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act now set to enter its final, frenzied push, the Indianapolis Star reports that the Indiana GOP attempted a stunt that was supposed to provide Republicans with more ammunition against the law. But the stunt went awry:
The responses were unexpected.
“My sister finally has access to affordable quality care and treatment for her diabetes.”
“My father’s small business was able to insure its employees for the first time ever. #thanksObama”
“The only horror in the story is that Republicans might take it away.”…
By 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Indiana GOP’s post collected more than 1,500 comments, the vast majority in support of Obamacare.
As David Nather points out, this reveals that the energy in this battle right now is on the side of those who want to save the Affordable Care Act. But, while the rate of pro-ACA postings should obviously not be taken as a scientific indicator of public opinion, this episode also neatly captures another larger truth about why it is proving so hard for Republicans to repeal the law: It has helped untold numbers of people, and the GOP bill would largely reverse that.
This is admittedly a simple and obvious point, yet the extraordinary lengths to which Republicans are going to obscure this basic reality continue to elude sufficient recognition. If you think about it, pretty much every major lie that President Trump and Republicans are telling right now to get their repeal-and-replace bill passed is designed to cover it up.
The Washington Post and the New York Times have published two excellent pieces that debunk most of the leading GOP lies and distortions of the moment on health care. The Post piece looks at a series of White House claims. They include exaggerated assertions about Obamacare premium hikes (that don’t take into account subsidies that ease costs for lower-income people) and gamed statistics about the number covered by the ACA (that don’t take into account the enormous coverage gains achieved by the Medicaid expansion). Most insultingly of all, the White House is criticizing Obamacare because 29 million Americans currently remain uncovered. The spectacularly dumb argument here is actually that Obamacare is failing because it hasn’t succeeded in achieving universal coverage, so we should embrace a GOP bill that would leave nearly 50 million uncovered in 10 years.
Meanwhile, the Times piece looks at a bunch of claims by congressional Republicans. Among them: The dopey, dissembling, nonsensical assertions that the GOP bill somehow keeps the Medicaid expansion and that Medicaid spending actually goes up (the GOP bill phases out the ACA’s federal contributions to the expansion and dramatically cuts Medicaid spending relative to current law, which would leave 15 million fewer covered by that program). And some Republicans are actually blaming Obamacare for the fact that some remain uncovered by the Medicaid expansion in states where GOP governors didn’t opt into it.
All of these lies and distortions, in one way or another, are meant to obscure two basic realities: The ACA, for all its problems, is actually helping millions and millions of people, and the GOP bill would undo much of those gains. This would not be necessary, if Republicans were willing to forthrightly defend their actual policy goals and the principles and priorities underlying them.
Interestingly, moderate Republican senators are in fact acknowledging the priorities embedded in the GOP plan when they criticize it for trying to roll back the help that the ACA is giving to millions and millions of poor people in order to finance huge tax cuts for the rich. But you don’t see many congressional Republicans who support the bill admitting to its most basic features, or defending them with an argument as to why its projected consequences would be worth the bill’s trade-offs. Instead, these realities are buried under piles of horse manure about “smooth glide paths” and “rescue missions” and “bridges to better health care” and “soft landings” and all the other claims recounted above about how the ACA doesn’t do what it actually does and how GOP bill wouldn’t actually do what it is intended to do.
* COLLINS: PEOPLE ARE ‘THANKING’ ME FOR OPPOSING GOP BILL: GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine tells The Post that she was showered with gratitude while walking in a July 4 parade:
“I heard, over and over again, encouragement for my stand against the current version of the Senate and House health-care bills. People were thanking me, over and over again. ‘Thank you, Susan!’ ‘Stay strong, Susan!'”
And yet note that even here, Collins is still giving herself wiggle room to support the final bill by claiming she merely opposes the “current version.”
* GOP SENATORS DUCK JULY 4 PARADES: Interestingly, a number of GOP senators who are under heavy pressure to oppose the health bill skipped local July 4 parades:
Shelley Moore Capito [of West Virginia] released a YouTube message but had no public events for the day. The Republican senator next door in Ohio, Rob Portman, had none either. Nor did the two Republican senators in Iowa. The parades in Colorado proceeded without Senator Cory Gardner.
Note that all of those states opted into the Medicaid expansion, which the GOP bill would phase out. Still, Sens. Capito and Portman have public events in coming days, so watch for those.
* GOP SPLIT OVER HOW TO ‘SOFTEN’ HEALTH BILL: CNN reports that Republicans will be battling this week over whether to restore one of Obamacare’s taxes on the rich:
A still looming, very real fight that will be coming when they return: whether to repeal the 3.8% investment tax in Obamacare or not. This is not at all settled, but sources tell CNN this is something that won’t be dealt with until Congress returns to Washington.
As I’ve reported, restoring this tax would not put a serious dent in the GOP bill’s coverage loss, and much of its tax relief for the rich would remain. Yet conservatives oppose even this.
* REPUBLICANS LAUNCH HEALTH CARE ADS, WITH A CAVEAT: Politico’s Morning Score reports:
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is launching digital ads targeting all 10 Democrats up in states won by President Donald Trump next year linking them to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the Democratic push for single-payer health care. The 15-second ads … feature Warren saying “single-payer” is the next step before noting how frequently a Senator votes with Warren before directing viewers to sign a petition against single-payer. The ads are backed by significant statewide buys, and will run throughout recess and the rest of July.
But as Democratic operative Jesse Ferguson points out: “Pretty telling that they aren’t running ads attacking Dems for opposing their health care plan, eh?”
* DESPITE TRUMP’S BOASTS, AUTO INDUSTRY SLOWS DOWN: The New York Times reports that auto industry sales are slowing and its workforce is shrinking, two trends that are likely to continue:
The decline signals at least a pause in Detroit’s resurgence from the dark days of the financial crisis, which General Motors and Chrysler survived only through bankruptcy and bailouts. It’s happening despite President Trump’s promises to pressure automakers to save and create good-paying American factory jobs.
Ignore this Fake News, Trump supporters. Trump will likely “save” a few isolated jobs somewhere soon and hold a big presser to tout all the “winning.”
* 44 STATES HAVE REFUSED REQUEST FOR VOTER DATA: CNN tallies it up:
Forty-four states have refused to provide certain types of voter information to the Trump administration’s election integrity commission, according to a CNN inquiry to all 50 states.
This might make it more difficult for Trump’s voter suppression — oops, voter fraud — commission to carry out its mission. Sad!
* AND HUGE MAJORITY DISAPPROVES OF TRUMP TWEETS: Amid Trump’s latest lunatic tweets, Axios publishes a new Survey Monkey poll finding that 64 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s tweeting. But only 38 percent of Republicans disapprove:
Not only do most Republicans approve of his use of Twitter, but asked to describe those tweets, the No. 1 mention among the GOP is ‘truthful,’ with ‘entertaining’ in second place.
There you have it. This is why the presidential tweeting will continue.