The Razor Blades in the Apple of Better Care Reconciliation Act

The LATimes has an alien-autopsy of the new-and-improved, lemon-scented, Trickle-Down Healthcare for Billionaire Tax Cuts or whatever they are calling it these days.

Written in part by Andy Slavitt who is a former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a position he held from March 2015 to January 2017, and therefore he knows a thing or two about the existing law and what would change if this passes.

They go looking for the razor blades in the apple, and boy, do they ever find them:

—The measure kills the birth control and women’s health screening requirements.

—HHS Secretary Tom Price gets enormous new power

—The bill still cuts taxes for the wealthy.

—The senators exempt themselves from the loss of consumer protections.

—The opioid money is a Band-Aid.

—The “Murkowski Mollification.” (Remember Sen. Ben Nelson’s Cornhusker Kickback?)

—The Cruz Amendment is a disaster

—Buyers of cheap Cruz plans would be locked out

All of the points they make are good and backed up by the bill, but to me the authority that they give to HHS Tom Price is a real eye opener. Essentially he alone would get to direct all the block grants that they would give to the states:

Medicaid chief Andy Slavitt observes, there are no rules or standards guiding Price’s hand — he could dole out all the money to red states or pull funding from others at will. The money doesn’t have to go to services for low-income people or to replace lost Medicaid funding. He could shortchange states that require health plans to cover abortion — such as California and New York.

It’s a great read, they make it informative and funny, and it gives you some facts that you can arm yourself with when you fight with your Facebook Rage Uncle.

One YUGE thing to note: amply be-chinned Mitch McConnell already knows this beast won’t score well with the CBO, so they are by-passing that step and having Tom Price’s HHS score it, you know, to expedite this. Yes, ethics-challenged Tom Price who will suddenly get the largest slush fund in US History will score it.

We gotta stop this thing. If you live in a red state call your Senators and pressure them to say no. If they agree with you, thank them and tell them that you have got their backs. If you live in a blue state, also call your senators and thank them for holding the line.

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