President Donald Trump sits in the White House today because, in part, Democrats ceded rural Indiana and rural America. The Hoosier state is barely functioning in a two-party system.
I asked Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody for a list of county chairs elected on March 3. According to a party spreadsheet, Daviess, Gibson, Martin and Henry counties listed no chair. Mine down a bit further and you see Donald Trump won Daviess County with 79.6 percent of the vote, 71.6 percent in Gibson, 69.2 percent in Henry and 76.9 percent in Martin.
This is all relevant because during the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Trump vowed repeatedly and vociferously to repeal and replace Obamacare. In January, Trump promised “terrific” coverage “for everybody.”
The new Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price vowed that “nobody will be worse off financially” with the plan proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and that's being pushed by Vice President Mike Pence.
A Congressional Budget Office scoring of RyanCare this past week reveals an $880 billion cut for Medicaid, prompting 14 million of those, including many of the 420,000 Hoosiers enrolled in the successful Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 who will likely lose coverage. There will be a $300 billion tax cut for wealthy Americans.
But according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the replacement of Obamacare subsidies for poor and middle income folks with RyanCare tax credits isn’t going to be such a great deal.
How much would Hoosier residents in the four counties that Indiana Democratic Party has essentially abandoned lose in Obamacare subsidies to the RyanCare tax credits on the Kaiser interactive map? In Daviess, it would be 557 percent (yes, 557 percent), in Gibson 61 percent, in Martin 115 percent and in Henry 73 percent. Essentially, these Hoosiers are voting against their own economic interests.
A White House analysis showed RyanCare coverage losses would include 17 million for Medicaid, 6 million in the individual market and 3 million in employer-based plans. A total of 54 million individuals would be uninsured in 2026 under the GOP plan.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on Monday, "I want to make sure that we are compassionate and we cover the Hoosiers that we are right now. I completely believe we have to fix the Affordable Care Act, and the repeal was the right first step, but the devil's always in the details."
With the Tea Party-oriented Freedom Caucus pushing RyanCare to the brink of an embarrassing defeat, Pence and others pushed the idea of actually accelerating cuts to Medicaid from 2020 to 2018. Essentially, Pence is calling for the evisceration of HIP 2.0, his most successful policy achievement as Indiana governor.
U.S. Rep. Luke Messer was attempting to help Ryan and Pence line up votes for House passage, even though they know the bill will be dead on arrival in the Senate.
Republicans flirt with political disaster if they can’t deliver credible reform or if they take away coverage from millions of Americans. A Fox News Poll shows that 54 percent oppose the GOP plan, and 34 percent favor. And this: 50 percent have a favorable opinion of Obamacare. That's unchanged from January, and up from 38 percent from March 2015.
What is absolutely stunning is that instead of spending the last seven years evolving Obamacare, Republicans dug in, criticized, cast 50 votes for repeal and then when given the chance to replace/repeal, are exposed as vapid and divided.