By Angelo S. Lynn
By now, the biggest sin of the GOP health care bill is well known: it’s a tax cut bill masquerading as a health care plan. Simply put, it takes health care away from lower-income and middle-income Americans who need it most, and it cuts taxes on the rich and super-rich by $600 billion.
The genius of the plan, if there is one, is that many white, elderly residents of rural America and the Rust Belt are the very citizens who will lose the most, and yet many still believe Trump will somehow magically save the day, that they won’t lose any health care benefits they got under Obamacare, and that their premiums will go down.
It’s not true, of course. The math on TrumpCare is clear that 14 million will lose the insurance they received under Obamacare, and by 2020 the number swells to 24 million. As importantly, insurance premiums for seniors will skyrocket because the Trump plan allows insurance companies to charge seniors five times more than younger people rather than three times under Obamacare.
But the bill is more than just what happens to health care premiums. Sen. Bernie Sanders and his team studied the bill and found dozens of additional ways the proposal would hurt Vermonters. Here are a few. It would:
Eliminate the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides heating assistance to some 21,000 Vermont families;
Eliminate federal funding for five community action programs in Vermont that provide thousands of low-income Vermonters emergency food, shelter, heating assistance, transportation and health care;
Cut Vermont’s $6 million in community development block grants that provide funding for affordable housing, transportation and economic development, including BROC Community Action in Southwestern Vermont.
Cut more than $500,000 Vermont now receives from the Legal Services Corporation, often the only legal resource available to low-income veterans, children and families in Vermont;
Cut Head Start by $1.6 million in Vermont, which would throw 140 low-income children off high-quality child care and early education.
End $1.3 million in annual federal funding that the Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport receives under the Essential Air Service program.
All for what? To make the rich richer, while the poor suffer more and middle-class Americans are asked to pay the greatest burden. In fact, it sounds like everything one might expect from Trump.