Trumpcare is bleeding out.
Democrats oppose the bill en masse. Members of the Tea Party Caucus are deriding it as “Obamacare Lite.” And the more centrist wing of the Republican Party feels queasy at the prospect of voting for a bill that, according to Congressional Budget Office projections, would cause 24 million people to go without insurance over the next decade.
Virtually no one likes the proposed Obamacare replacement, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and President Donald Trump aside. And so Trump, the dealmaker in chief, is reportedly looking to modify the legislation in order to win over a handful of new allies.
Specifically, he’s looking to his right.
Just hours after the CBO released its projections, Politico reported that the White House wants Trumpcare amended so that it will appeal to the House Republicans’ Tea Party wing. Among other things, that would mean phasing in the bill’s Medicaid cuts next year, rather than putting them off until 2020 as the legislation currently does.
It’s unclear how this change would affect the CBO’s projections. But allowing faster and deeper cuts to health insurance for low-income households is a strange way to reform a proposal already catching heat for its expected harm to coverage rates.
In its analysis, the CBO found that “reductions in insurance coverage between 2018 and 2026 would stem in large part from changes in Medicaid enrollment.” And as mentioned above, 24 million fewer people will have coverage by 2026, according to the CBO analysis. Accelerating those changes is isn’t likely to ameliorate the losses.
The president has repeatedly promised that no one would lose their health insurance under his Obamacare replacement. Now, having discovered that this bill could actually strip coverage from millions, he is taking steps that could make the damage even more extreme.