Will ‘moderate’ Senate Republicans fall for a bad Medicaid bribe?

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While it’s completely unclear as of now what Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to force the Senate to vote on as early as next Tuesday, it is clear he’s still trying to bribe senators. It appears that he is trying to negotiate some kind of new Zombie Trumpcare (version 4.0?) while holding out the threat that he’ll force the Republican caucus to vote on a straight Obamacare repeal if they don’t cooperate. Or maybe he’s just scrambling and keeping all his options open. What he is doing, however, is offering some of the Medicaid expansion state senators a pittance to try to bring them along.

Senate Republican leaders and Trump administration officials, trying to rally support for their health care bill, are apparently dangling an offer of some new money to help low-income people get health insurance. It could be as

as $200 billion over 10 years, according to reports in Bloomberg and The Hill. […]

The Better Care Reconciliation Act, the proposal that Senate leaders are trying to bring to the floor next week, would take $756 billion out of Medicaid over the next 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The bill would also reduce tax credits for people buying private insurance on their own, bringing the total reduction in federal spending to $1.2 trillion.

Putting something like $200 billion of that back into health coverage isn’t nearly enough to blunt the effects. A cynic might even say the primary goal in offering this money is to trick wavering Republican senators or to give them an easy excuse for voting yes, rather than to provide health insurance for the people who stand to lose it should the Senate bill become law.

There are myriad issues with this proposal, as laid out by HuffPost’s Jonathon Cohn. But the biggest problem with that $200 billion over 10 years is that it’s a drop in the bucket of what it’s going to cost, and will help only a small portion of the people it’s supposed to.

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