It has been three whole business days since the Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the House Republicans' toxic Trumpcare bill, but Dave Reichert is only now getting around to issuing a statement in support of it. We'll get to the "substance" of his claims in a second. I just want to take a moment here and remind everyone that last Thursday, back when only 6 to 10 million people were estimated to lose coverage under Trumpcare according to Standard and Poor and not the now 24 million according to the CBO, Reichert had already voted in favor of the bill as a member of the House Ways and Means committee.
Why did it take so long for him to issue support for a bill he'd voted for earlier despite not knowing how much it would cost and/or how many people would lose coverage? His Washington Republican colleague, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rogers, seemed to have her mind made up the day before. Did Reichert need more time to find the perfect words? Or could it be that he had to wait for Speaker Paul Ryan and the other Trumpcare apologists to iron out their talking points so that he could lift them wholesale and not have to worry about trying to form a single thought on his own? I wondered, so I asked Reichert's office. They haven't gotten back to me. I'll update this post if they ever get back to me on anything.
Anyway, to the substance! Take it away, Jim Brunner of the Seattle Times!
NOW @davereichert makes statement on CBO score of GOP healthcare bill. Says it's just "first step" and that it will lower costs pic.twitter.com/LbPP97T2ld
— Jim Brunner (@Jim_Brunner) March 16, 2017
Alright, let's go through this real quick. I'll just fix things as I go along. The comments in brackets are mine.
The CBO estimates that over the next 10 years the replacement plan will reduce premiums on families [who are not among the millions of people forced out of the health insurance markets due to the estimated 15 percent rise in premiums], increase health care options [for those who will still have them], cuts taxes [for the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the poorest and oldest Americans], and decrease the deficit by $337 billion [because that's what happens when we cut Medicaid, which largely serves children and the elderly, by $880 billion]. This is all achieved while maintaining a commitment to protect people with preexisting conditions, ensure women cannot be charged more than men [though Planned Parenthood, which 2.5 million men and women choose to visit every year, will be defunded], and allow children to stay on their parents' plan until age 26.
It is assumed in the report that when individuals and families are no longer forced to sign up for insurance fewer will choose to do so. It’s not the government’s job to force Americans to buy something they do not want [like Trump's trips to Mar a Lago?] and can’t afford to use [because some Republican governors refused Medicaid expansion for political reasons]. Instead of penalizing people for not purchasing insurance [like we do with home insurance or car insurance and every other fucking kind of insurance] they do not want and that does not meet their health care needs [despite their assertions that it does], our plan lowers costs [for some, and only after 10 years] and allows individuals to choose the right plan for them. And according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, a majority of Washington patients will receive a larger tax credit under the Republican plan than under Obamacare. [Just because more (though not the most vulnerable) Washingtonians will receive a larger tax credit under the AHCA than under that ACA does not mean those people will be able to afford health care. On Wednesday, as the Stranger's Heidi Groover reported, Washington's Health Care Authority, Department of Social and Health Services, and Office of the Insurance Commissioner calculated that "700,000 Washingtonians could lose coverage and uninsured rates in the state could reach levels higher than before the Affordable Care Act, increasing from 5.8 to 15 percent." Governor Jay Inslee is calling this thing a disaster for Washingtonians.]
The American Health Care Act [which we've had eight years to develop] is just the first [and, given House and Senate Republican dissent, maybe last] step in our plan to provide Americans with more affordable, patient-centered [as opposed to???] health care. The CBO’s score does not include the additional steps that are critical to our overall health care solution. Our goal remains to provide access for all Americans [which runs counter to President Trump's goal of providing "insurance for everybody"]. Through work with the Administration and additional reforms, we will continue to increase competition to provide more choices and lower costs for families [who aren't very old, very young, or impoverished].
Today at 5:30 p.m., Washington District 8's elusive congressman is hosting a telephone town hall for his constituents.
Reichert Watch: Every time Reichert takes a party line vote that hurts his constituents or introduces needless legislation or does anything at all, we'll add it to the list. An investigation by the Stranger revealed that Riechert made misleading statements about threats posed by his own constituents. On March 9, he voted for the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Recently, he voted for the SCRUB act, which creates a regulatory committee to identify and eliminate regulations that don’t directly increase the GDP. The committee’s goals align with White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon’s plan to “deconstruct the administrative state," but the irony of commissioning a regulatory agency to cut back on regulations is lost on no one, especially not tax payers who are being charged $30 million for the favor. Reichert twice voted against forcing Trump to show congress his tax returns (once in committee and once in a roll call vote), which may illuminate conflicts of interest and business ties with Russia. Reichert was the only Washington Republican who voted to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. In 2014, he proposed a bill that would ban welfare recipients from using benefits to buy weed, despite the fact that such purchases were already illegal. In 2010, he voted to maintain “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell." That same year, Reichert suffered significant brain trauma when a tree branch fell on his head. The resulting hand-sized blood clot that formed in his brain went untreated for two months. In their 2006 endorsement, The Seattle Times editorial board applauded Reichert for his "conscience-driven independent streak," but, that same year, during a speech before the Mainstream Republicans of Washington, Reichert expressed his readiness to vote along party lines, saying: "when the leadership comes to me and says, 'Dave, we need you to take a vote over here because we want to protect you and keep this majority,' I... I do it." Though he has voted for some land conservation efforts, Reichert describes his pro-environment votes as "chess pieces, strategies" to hold his seat in a swing district.