On Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver took a deep dive into the American Health Care Act, also already known as Trumpcare, because even though the early reaction from many pundits and politicians is that it’s “dead on arrival,” that might not be the case, Oliver said.
And that’s why people need to know what’s in the bill.
A big difference from the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is that the AHCA would have an annual flat tax credit based on age – ranging from $2,000 for those under 30 years old to $4,000 for those 60 or older – so the older you get the more money you get. But would those credits sufficiently cover the cost of health insurance?
Using a tax chart created by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Oliver said that those with lower incomes would be particularly hurt. He gave an example: If you live in Woodward County, Oklahoma, are 60 years old, and earn $50,000 a year, with Obamacare you would get $13,350 toward insurance, but under the new bill that would drop to $4,000.
And if you’re on Medicaid, it could be worse, Oliver said. He showed reports that said the plan would cut at least $370 billion in federal funding to Medicaid over the next 10 years, meaning states would have to make that up to maintain coverage, which would likely be impossible for most. Projections have estimated that 15 million people would lose their health insurance.
“People are going to be hurt by this bill,” Oliver said.
By contrast, President Donald Trump previously promised there would be no cuts to Medicaid, and he has said that “everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”
Who wouldn’t get hurt by the bill? The wealthy, Oliver concluded.
- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Incomes in the top 1% would get a tax break of about $33,000, and those in the top 0.1% would get a $197,000 break, on average, according to reports.
“This plan is literally taking money from the poor and giving it to the very rich,” Oliver said.
That doesn’t include recently rich lottery winners, though. Six pages of the AHCA outline how states can dis-enroll high-dollar lottery winners – or, as Oliver puts it, address “the urgent matter of what if one poor person suddenly becomes less poor.”
Trumpcare would have real consequences for Americans, including Trump voters, Oliver said, but its legislative path has been tricky. To get the bill passed, the GOP had to come up with something that couldn’t get filibustered.
“For procedural reasons, this is being presented as a budget bill,” Oliver said, “which Republicans can pass with a simple Senate majority; any non-budget-related policy change requires 60 votes to beat a filibuster.
“This bill is, in all likelihood, all Trump can get passed to replace Obamacare,” Oliver continued, “so it is f—ing important everyone understands what is in it.”