We now know what the Republican message is ahead of this week's CBO score of the GOP's Obamacare replacement plan, the American Health Care Act. Republicans spent the weekend telling news shows that kicking millions of people off Medicaid will be doing them a favor.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, on Sunday said that Republican health care reform could not succeed unless people lost access to Medicaid.
Fox News host Chris Wallace noted during an interview with Jordan that House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would phase out the law’s Medicaid expansion by 2020.
But Jordan argued that the 11 million people covered by Medicaid expansion should lose their coverage even sooner.
“Isn’t that going to create chaos and throw millions of people off of heath insurance?” Wallace wondered.
“The plan we passed that every Republican supported last Congress said there’s a two year effective date,” Jordan explained. “So, you would repeal Obamacare. But there’s still two years transition time. Everyone knows you need a transition time to bring back a market place.”
“I don’t view success as keeping Americans on Medicaid,” he added. “I view success as bringing down the cost of insurance so families can pick the plan that fits needs. That’s what we’re doing. We have a two year transition time for that.”
“And again, remember what we told the voters. We said we’re going to repeal Obamacare, not keep Medicaid expansion around forever. We said we were going to repeal it. So, let’s do that.”
So here's the new message: If we kick all those people off Medicaid, we'll be able to lower your premiums, so don't worry Trump voters. We'll take care of you.
Nothing could be further from the truth though. Republicans have repeatedly said that the goal of their replacement plan wasn't having people with coverage, it was "lowering costs" so that everybody could afford it (which is nonsense because that's literally what Medicaid is for.)
It's still going to be an easy sell to Trump voters of course, because he'll fix whatever real problems the AHCA has. They're counting on that. The problem is the Republicans running in 2018 aren't Trump. They're the ones with the angry town hall constituents and voters threatening to ruin them.
Can Trump, Mitch, and Paul Ryan keep enough of them in line?