While You Were Sleeping, Republicans Hid Their Latest Attempt to Take Away Your Health Care Inside a Tax Bill
The GOP knows sunlight is the best disinfectant, which is why Republicans released their most treasured, yet least popular legislation at 10pm on Tuesday. At least that's what happened with their idea for a repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate, which House Republicans conveniently nestled inside their tax plan.
Decades and millions of news cycles ago, they might have gotten away with it, but in the age of Twitter, activists were immediately on high alert, updating their messaging to tie a harmful—yet opaque and complex—tax bill to an issue the resistance already has some experience fighting for: health care.
Progressive groups have spent weeks developing a push against the legislation, but the new attack on health care means that groups like ADAPT, which advocates for Americans with disabilities, and Little Lobbyists, which fights for children with complex medical conditions, can add faces—a human touch—to the story of the threat the bill poses.
Enraged but energized, the Tax March, Indivisible, MoveOn, and other groups staged a rally outside Capitol Hill Wednesday morning, promising, as MoveOn’s Ben Wikler put it, “When you come for our health care, we come for your jobs."
.@benwikler kicks off the #NotOnePenny rally with a strong message for Republicans: "When you come for our health… https://t.co/2QgKGqjI0k— Tax March (@Tax March)1510765902.0
House Democrats also struck back at the attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all Americans have health insurance. According to analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, at least 13 million Americans would lose health insurance within 10 years without the mandate, and countless more would see their premiums rise by 10 percent.
“This bill seems to get worse by the hour,” Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon told the New York Times. “This is not just another garden-variety attack on the Affordable Care Act; this is a repeal of that law.”
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri was even blunter in an exchange with Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. After Hatch tried to claim there were no cuts to Medicaid in the bill, McCaskill countered: “Where do you think the $300 billion is coming from? Is there a fairy that's dropping it on the Senate? The money you're spending is coming out of Medicaid."
Orrin Hatch: "There are no cuts to Medicaid in this bill." ... Claire McCaskill: "Where do you think the $300 billi… https://t.co/RA0NqMJrSV— Kyle Griffin (@Kyle Griffin)1510767313.0
So far, the Tax Plan isn't doing well in the court of public opinion, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll. Only 25 percent of respondents approved of the plan, 61 percent think it only benefits the wealthy, and only 16 percent think it will reduce their taxes. It remains to be seen what Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell will do to sweeten the deal for lawmakers on the fence. Activists aren't taking any chances. Indivisible is continuing to update its Trump Tax Scam toolkit, and everyone is encouraged to call both their House and Senate reps to turn the tide.