NY Times Assures Readers That Trump Win on Health Care Perilous for ‘Far-Right’ GOP

May 6th, 2017 9:57 AM

Gloom and doom greeted gave the president’s surprise victory on health care on the front of the New York Times. The paper gave the hard-fought legislative victory the same partisan treatment it gave to Trump’s tax cut proposals. The health care bill that would reverse parts of Obamacare, which squeaked through the House of Representatives, was a legislative victory fraught with “peril” from the paper’s perspective, with baleful predictions that echoed the Times’ treatment of the (shockingly successful) Trump presidential campaign.

In reporter Jennifer Steinhauer’s Friday “Congressional Memo,” “Promise Kept, At What Cost? Moderate Republicans May Soon Be in Peril," Trump's honeymoon didn’t last a single sentence, greeted with doom and labeling overload.

In voting to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, House Republicans finally made progress on a key Trump administration goal and on a campaign promise that they have made for the better part of a decade -- but at a potentially steep price.

After failing to get the votes for an original replacement measure in March, Speaker Paul D. Ryan worked tirelessly to do what his predecessor, John A. Boehner, could not, bringing together his most conservative members and their moderate colleagues behind a piece of legislation laden with political peril.


But by leaning on members to vote for a bill that many fear will leave millions of people unable to afford health care, Mr. Ryan has exposed moderate Republicans to withering political attacks. This is especially true in the roughly two dozen districts represented by Republicans where Hillary Clinton prevailed over Mr. Trump in November, but it is also the case in places where the Affordable Care Act’s popularity has been increasing.

Labeling overkill:

In reshaping the bill, Mr. Ryan worked with an attentive White House, edging out the committee chairmen who helped write the original measure and turning to conservative lawmakers, moving the bill significantly to the right in the process. It also empowered conservatives who many Republican leaders had hoped to marginalize in the era of Mr. Trump.

The president’s economic populism and flexibility on policy seemed at first to be totally out of step with the far-right members, who essentially ran Mr. Boehner out of town. So the health bill’s passage could augur high-stakes spending and policy fights ahead.

The House voted on Thursday on a revised health care bill that would repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act.

“This is definitely a win for the Freedom Caucus,” said Charlie Sykes, the former conservative radio host and longtime friend of both Mr. Ryan and Reince Priebus, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff. Mr. Priebus made getting a health care bill passed in the House a career-defining moment for himself, and he negotiated at length with the conservative lawmakers. Mr. Ryan singled him out for praise at a Rose Garden ceremony after the vote.

“They moved the bill right and the moderates caved,” Mr. Sykes said. “That creates an interesting dynamic.”

Steinhauer resurfaced the old “bomb-thrower” slur to use against conservatives.

The process alienated committee chairmen, whose work took a back seat to the efforts of the elusive chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina, and it chipped away at their authority. Mr. Meadows and his fellow conservatives, who have toiled for years as philosophical bomb throwers in the legislative process, got the attention of the White House, which worked hard to meet their needs and pressure moderates to come along.

Meanwhile, a leading partisan Democrat didn’t get an ideological label.

Mr. Schumer gave a preview of the Democratic blitz facing House Republicans -- who will return to their districts for a week off to gauge voters’ reactions -- describing the measure as a “breathtakingly irresponsible piece of legislation that would endanger the health of tens of millions of Americans.”


“The upside for Republicans is that they can return to their districts and tell G.O.P. voters that they acted on a campaign promise,” said Nathan Gonzales, the editor of Inside Elections. “The downside is that the alternative may not go far enough for base Republicans, may go too far for moderate voters, and create a backlash that puts the House majority at risk in 2018.”

Friday’s front also featured health-care reporter Margot Sanger-Katz’s “Wealthy People Benefit, the Poor Much Less So.” The jump-page headline was snarkier: “Wealthy and Healthy Benefit, the Poor Not So Much.” Sanger-Katz skipped over the loosening of restrictions of the legislation and instead starkly divvied things up between “the rich” and “the poor.”

The American Health Care Act, which narrowly won passage in the House on Thursday, could transform the nation’s health insurance system and create a new slate of winners and losers.

While the Senate will probably demand changes, this bill, if it becomes law in its current form, will repeal and replace large portions of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). It will change the rules and subsidies for people who buy their own insurance coverage, and make major cuts to the Medicaid program, which funds care for the poor and disabled.

Any sizable change in our complex health care system leaves some people and businesses better or worse off. For some, insurance will become more affordable -- or their taxes will be lower. Others will lose out on financial support or health care coverage. You can see how you might be affected in our summary of winners and losers.

Among Margot-Katz’s “winners”:

High-income earners: The bill eliminates two taxes on individuals earning more than $200,000 or couples earning more than $250,000: a 0.9 percent increase on the Medicare payroll tax, and a 3.8 percent tax on investment income. It also allows people to save more money in tax-excluded health savings accounts, a change most useful to people with enough money to have savings.

On her list of “Losers”? The misnamed “health care provider” Planned Parenthood, the nation’s biggest abortion provider.