US: Senate Republicans Pass Trump-Pence Tax Scheme — Including Attack on Health Care

US Capitol Building – Image: USA Today

US Senate Republicans have passed legislation carefully crafted to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other vital health care programs, and could impact on Medicare, Medicaid and HIV/AIDS programmes. The Human Rights Campaign, the American LGBTQ civil rights organization, issued the following statement about the vote: 

“With thoughtless disregard for their constituents, 51 Senate Republicans just voted for reckless legislation disguised as ‘tax reform’ that threatens millions of Americans’ health care and programs crucial to the LGBTQ community. This widely unpopular and dangerous bill was drafted behind closed doors, not made available to the American people until a few hours before the vote, and rushed through without any meaningful debate. History will judge how these senators voted today, and the American people will remember at the ballot box,”said HRC President Chad Griffin.

The bill passed tonight repeals the ACA’s individual mandate, that requires all Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty. This provision was at the heart of the Trump-McConnell failed effort to repeal the ACA earlier this summer.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, repealing the individual mandate could result in 13 million people leaving the insurance market, immediately causing insurance premiums to soar, and could leave millions more priced out of access to healthcare.

Furthermore, the revenue losses triggered by the bill are likely to result in future spending cuts to critical health programmes like Medicare, Medicaid, global HIV/AIDS programs, the Ryan White Care Act, and other essential domestic discretionary programs.

Note: The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. 

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