After the release of the US Senate’s “morally bankrupt” healthcare bill — which would impose deep cuts to Medicaid, eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and give huge tax breaks to the wealthy — an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published on June 22 found Americans “overwhelmingly” dislike it.
“By a 3-to-1 margin, the American public holds a negative view of the American Health Care Act, legislation that House [of Representatives] Republicans passed last month and that President Donald Trump supports,” NBC’s Mark Murray observed. “Just 16 percent of adults believe that House health care bill is a good idea, versus 48 percent who say it’s a bad idea.”
The poll also found that a mere 34% of Republicans view the House plan favourably.
Given the similarities between the House and Senate bills, the numbers appear to bode poorly for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who hopes to bring his measure — the Better Care Reconciliation Act — to the floor for a vote in coming days.
The fierce and persistent backlash against Republican attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare has given many Republicans pause. They are measuring the electoral risks of backing legislation that could kick tens of millions off health insurance.
Opponents have moved in recent weeks to take advantage of this hesitance. Women’s rights group UltraViolet has organised sit-ins at the offices of vulnerable senators; Anti-Trump group Indivisible launched the Trumpcare Ten initiative, which highlights lawmakers who could potentially defect from the Republican Party given enough grassroots pressure.
Republican Ohio Senator Rob Portman experienced that pressure firsthand on June 21. His “usually quiet” constituent coffee meeting was turned into a mini town hall, with angry Ohioans peppering him with questions about his healthcare stance.
Portman has been one of several Republican senators to worry publicly about the draconian cuts the bill would impose on crucial programs, including ones designed to help those addicted to opioids.
Now that the Senate bill is public, groups are looking to ramp up their efforts to force the handful of defections needed to prevent the measure’s passage. As the Senate’s Trumpcare bill was making the rounds, protesters, including many in wheelchairs, were arrested after staging a protest outside of McConnell’s office.
“The bottom line is that Americans don't support this bill,” said Indivisible policy director Angel Padilla. “It is irredeemable and unfixable.
“If the well-being of their constituents is every senator’s priority, no senator should vote for this bill, period.”
[Abridged from Common Dreams.]