Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Attack of the Decepticons Republicans Sell Trumpcare by Peddling Deceptions

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Attack of the Decepticons Republicans Sell Trumpcare by Peddling Deceptions

Article excerpt

Does anyone remember the "reformicons"? A couple of years back there was much talk about a new generation of Republicans who would move their party off its cruel and mindless agenda of tax cuts for the rich and pain for the poor, bringing back the intellectual seriousness that supposedly used to characterize the conservative movement.

But the rise of the reformicons never happened. What we got instead was the (further) rise of the decepticons - conservatives who keep scaling new heights of dishonesty to sell their reverse-Robin Hood agenda.

Consider Republican leaders' strategy on health care. Everything they say involves demonstrably dishonest claims about Obamacare or wild misrepresentations of their proposed replacement, which would - surprise - cut taxes for the rich while inflicting harsh punishment on the poor and working class, including millions of Trump supporters. Here are a few low points.

Despite significant problems, the Affordable Care Act has extended health insurance to millions of Americans who wouldn't have had it otherwise, at a fairly modest cost. In states that have implemented the act as it was intended, expanding Medicaid, the percentage of nonelderly residents without insurance has fallen by more than half since 2010.

These numbers translate into dramatic positive impacts on real lives. A few days ago the Indiana GOP asked residents to share their "Obamacare horror stories"; what it got were thousands of testimonials from people whom the ACA has saved from financial ruin or even death.

How do Republicans argue against this success? Check out the Twitter feed of Tom Price, President Donald Trump's secretary of health and human services. Mr. Price points repeatedly to two misleading numbers.

First, he points to the fact that fewer people than expected have signed up on Obamacare's insurance exchanges and portrays this as a sign of dire failure. But a lot of this shortfall is the result of good news: Fewer employers than predicted chose to drop coverage and shift their workers onto exchanges. So exchange enrollment has come in below forecast, but it mostly consists of people who wouldn't otherwise have been insured, so there have been large gains in overall coverage. …

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