Remember death panels? Sure, I’m giving your memory a lot of credit right now, but you must recall the falsehood about the Affordable Care Act that went viral once Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page. The completely false assertion that as part of Obamacare, the federal government would convene panels to determine whether or not a senior citizen or disabled person deserved health care, was so egregious that it was named the 2009 Lie of the Year by Politifact.
Amazingly enough, no one has coined a similar killer phrase for the American Health Care Act, a name so decisively clunky that it seems to be begging for a catchier alternative – something like Trumpcare or Ryancare. However, as Newt Gingrich said to CNN as he pushed back against the Trumpcare sobriquet – one of the few times in recent memory that Trump, either as president or as a civilian, has ever refused taking credit for something or missing an opportunity to put his name on it – “The minute you call it by a politician's name, it becomes vulnerable. ... If it refers to you, then they oppose the bill.”
Happily for the GOP, they won’t have to worry about someone maligning their efforts with something as untoward as death panels. That’s because they appear to have cut out the middle man and gone straight to the sentencing phase, thanks to Trumpcare’s changes that will leave countless senior citizens who will see their premiums jump to unsustainable levels.
In a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means opposing Trumpcare, AARP noted that the plan’s changes to tax credits and age ratings would increase the insurance premiums of a 55-year-old person earning $25,000 a year by as much as $3,600 a year; for a 64-year-old earning $15,000 a year, that number would increase by as much as $8,400. Kinda makes you understand the recent nostalgia for Mr. Compassionate Conservatism himself, President George W. Bush.
The AARP is just one of countless organizations from across the political and policy spectrum to come out against Trumpcare. No doubt, the coming days and weeks will reveal more details of just how Americans are going to be impacted by it, but it’s safe to say that few, if any, segments of the population stand to lose as much as seniors.
On to the Winners & Losers:
Bob Casey: Speaking of Trumpcare, the state’s senior senator, who has undergone a metamorphosis into a progressive firebrand since the new administration took over, broke Twitter with a 67-tweet rebuke of the plan – one tweet for each county in the state, explaining how they would be impacted.
Eugene DePasquale: When your auditor general, whose very job description entails prudence and circumspection, states that the time has come to legalize marijuana in the state – and then backs it up with facts and figures – it’s tough to ignore.
Lucinda Little: In what is likely to be her last appearance here for a couple weeks, the GOP nominee for the special election in the PA House 197th district will indeed be the only candidate on the ballot. The PA Supreme Court handed down a one-sentence ruling that the Democratic Party could not get Emilio Vazquez on the ballot. While the party will still run him as a write-in candidate – he can join in the fun with as many as 30 other write-in hopefuls – it seems a lock that the GOP will have its first Rep. from the district in half a century.
The School District of Philadelphia: A new report shows that the School District of Philadelphia is saddled with almost $5,000 in continuing costs for every student that leaves a public school for a charter. Bonus: That number is sure to rise if PA Speaker of the House Mike Turzai gets his way and the district has to add 3,000 charter school seats each year.
Pat Meehan: The Republican US Rep. didn’t have to worry about staff at his Delaware County offices being lonely: Planned Parenthood supporters picketed in front of his Chadds Ford office to defend funding of the organization, and constituents furious about his “yes” vote on Trumpcare protested outside his Springfield office.
Mike Kelly: Ever wonder if you knew anyone who propagated crazy conspiracy theories? The constituents of this Republican US Rep. no longer have to, not since he was recorded promulgating the baseless dog whistle that President Obama is staying in Washington, D.C. because it makes it easier for him to run the shadow government. Kelly’s defense when asked about it? He thought it was a private meeting. OK, then – as long as you’re only believing and disseminating out of the public eye, no problem!