McConnell Pulls the Plug on Trumpcare

I believe we watched this movie before. And on a similar occasion.

Doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it again.

What a night! A  wooden stake through Trumpcare. A royal ass whuppin’ for the lickspittles of the one percenters.

Confusion to our enemies.

Clearly, the time has come for some of that product that Grandpa Aardvark used to make out in the woods.

À votre santé, y’all.

Pass the Popcorn, Please. And Where’s the Bourbon?


As we wait for the big vote, or not, this morning David Brooks writes,

I opposed Obamacare. I like health savings accounts, tax credits and competitive health care markets to drive down costs. But these free-market reforms have to be funded in a way to serve the least among us, not the most. This House Republican plan would increase suffering, morbidity and death among the middle class and poor in order to provide tax cuts to the rich.

It would cut Medicaid benefits by $880 billion between now and 2026. It would boost the after-tax income for those making more than $1 million a year by 14 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center. This bill takes the most vicious progressive stereotypes about conservatives and validates them.

It’s no wonder that according to the latest Quinnipiac poll this bill has just a 17 percent approval rating. It’s no wonder that this bill is already massively more unpopular that Hillarycare and Obamacare, two bills that ended up gutting congressional majorities.

If we’re going to have the rough edges of a populist revolt, you’d think that at least somebody would be interested in listening to the people. But with this bill the Republican leadership sets an all-time new land speed record for forgetting where you came from.

The core Republican problem is this: The Republicans can’t run policy-making from the White House because they have a marketing guy in charge of the factory. But they can’t run policy from Capitol Hill because it’s visionless and internally divided. So the Republicans have the politics driving the substance, not the other way around. The new elite is worse than the old elite — and certainly more vapid.

Get Out the Popcorn, Progressives

cat with popcorn

It’s around 8AM, World Time, on March 24.

The political party that claims to espouse “original intent” as a judicial philosophy continues to try to govern in a way our founding fathers did not intend: by effectively turning the 435-member House of Representatives into a body where only the votes of the 237 Republicans count.

In consequence, to pass legislation, the Republican leadership must obtain the votes of 91 percent of the Republicans.* If more than 22 of them defect, and a bill has no Democratic support, then it will fail.

The Washington Post reports that 32 Republicans have said they will vote no on the Republican health care bill, while an additional 22 say they lean toward a no vote.

Last night’s vote was cancelled, but Trump is said to have demanded a final vote today, failing which he will “move on” and will no longer support the Ryan health care plan.

There are several possibilities, each disastrous for Trump and the Republicans:

  1. The House votes and passes the bill. That would send the whole mess to the Senate, where the Republicans would need support from 96 percent of their members to pass anything.
  2. The House votes and fails to pass the bill, and that’s the end of the matter.
  3. The House votes and fails to pass the bill, but, contrary to Trump’s expressed wishes, Republicans keep at “health care reform.”
  4. The House Republican leadership stalls again, but keeps on trying to corral Republican votes in violation of Trump’s expressed wishes.
  5. The House Republican leadership stalls again, and puts health care on the back burner.

If I were king of the world, I would choose option 2. But if I were thinking in purely political terms, I would relish option one.

Passage of this universally despised bill would give progressives an actual target to shoot at.

Imagine the stories about people losing their coverage. Image the ads.

Image the outrage, as the least sentient among our voting population finally figure out what is happening to them.

* Currently, five seats are vacant in the House of Representatives, so the total number of sitting members is 430. The 50 percent plus one needed to pass legislation is 216 votes. Of the 420 sitting members, 237 are Republicans. Thus, assuming no Democratic support for a piece of legislation, the votes of 216 Republicans, or about 91 percent of the congresspersons from that party, are required for passage.

Screwed, Blued, and Tattooed


In a recent post I called attention to detailed data published by the Kaiser Family Foundation showing winners and losers from the Obamacare replacement bill, county by county throughout the country, by age, and by income.

Now, Nate Cohn, writing in the New York Times’ The Upshot blog, has put the Kaiser data together with voting data. His chart is reproduced above. (The data exclude people on Medicaid or Medicare. They compare the effect of replacing the Obamacare subsidies with the Trumpcare refundable tax credits.)

The result is very clear. In essence, the more likely you were to vote for Trump, the more likely you are to be screwed by replacing Obamacare with Trumpcare.


This morning Aardvark welcomes readers in the Philippines. Maligayang pagdating.


A Letter to Aardvark


From the AARP:

Dear Aardvark,

I just got out of a briefing on the new health care bill and I’ll be honest with you: It’s really bad.

Special interests – like insurance and drug companies – make out like bandits.

The rest of us? We get stuck with HUGE premium hikes.

Aardvark, your member of Congress needs to hear from you today: Stop this bill now.

The bill includes an “age tax” that would force Americans age 50 to 64 to pay THOUSANDS more for health care.

It weakens Medicare – that could open the door to benefit cuts or turning Medicare into vouchers.

Between the age tax and the reduced tax credits, premiums will soar, and rate hikes could be as high as $8,000 more just to keep the same coverage.

Tell Congress to vote NO on the American Health Care Act.

The problem with health care is skyrocketing costs – and that won’t get fixed with $200 billion in handouts to drug, insurance, and medical device companies.

Congress should work for ordinary Americans, not to line the pockets of special interests.

That’s why AARP is opposing this bill – and we need you to stand with us.

Tell your Representative to vote NO on the American Health Care Act.

AARP is 38 million members strong. We’re nonpartisan, nonprofit, and nationwide. And when we speak up together, Congress must listen.

We won’t sit by while millions see their premiums skyrocket and their benefits put at risk – while insurance and drug companies get even richer.

Stand with us – and tell your Representative to vote NO on the American Health Care Act.

I’ll be in touch soon with more. Thanks for all that you do to protect health care for older Americans.


Fred Griesbach
AARP Campaigns

P.S. Want to learn more about AARP’s objections to this bill? Read our letter to Congress.


Trumpcare Winners and Losers: Some Actual Information, For a Change

winners and losers

For some real data on winners and losers, if and when Obamacare is replaced by Trumpcare in its current iteration, go to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s interactive map. There you can search by county, by age, and by income, to see who wins and who loses.

And guess what, there are some winners as well as some losers under Trumpcare. And who do you think the winners are?