John Cassidy’s review in The New Yorker appears to be typical of the genre.
Rushing the bill through this way is about the only way it could pass. Several previous Republican bills were doomed by the Congressional Budget Office, which issued analyses detailing how the plans would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose their health-insurance coverage. By waiting until last week to finalize their bill, Graham and Cassidy didn’t leave the C.B.O. enough time to do a proper scoring before a vote is taken. (On Monday, the C.B.O. said that it would try to produce a limited analysis by early next week.)
An end run around the CBO, for a bill that covers one-sixth of the American economy. How, um, conservative.
Despite this cynical maneuver, there is no ambiguity about the terms of the Graham-Cassidy bill. It would roll back the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, which has enabled about fourteen million Americans to obtain health-care coverage. Then it would subject the rest of Medicaid to substantial cuts by converting it to a block-grant program. By targeting the low-paid, the sick, and the infirm, the legislation would create hundreds of billions of dollars in budget savings; these could then be applied to Republican tax cuts aimed primarily at rich households and corporations.
The bill isn’t just a smash-and-grab raid on the poor and nearly poor, though. It would also undermine the insurance exchanges set up under the A.C.A., by stripping away the subsidies for the purchase of policies, abolishing the employer and individual mandates, getting rid of the lifetime caps on health-care outlays, and allowing insurers to force people with preëxisting conditions to pay more.
They even tried to bribe the GOP caucus.
In a blatantly political move, the Graham-Cassidy bill would redirect some of the A.C.A. money to the nineteen Republican-run states that didn’t expand Medicaid, such as Florida, North Carolina, and Texas.
I’d say this was designed to fail, but I worry that Graham and Cassidy (who both don’t have to run for re-election until 2020) might be pursuing a “Rip the Band-Aid” strategy. In other words, the longer Obamacare is around, the harder it gets to repeal, so do it now and take the hit.
Any other thoughts?