It happens there are good reasons so many GOP House members avoided the press, and constituents, after narrowly passing their Obamacare replacement last week. It’s hard to reconcile with the promises.

It’s not hard to imagine though what a conversation might be like should an informed constituent catch up to one of them:

“Congressman, I have a pre-existing condition. The bill you passed is scary.”

“Don’t worry. We made sure you’ll be taken care of.”

“Well, I’ve done some research. If I have a lapse in coverage your bill allows insurers to charge me a 30% surcharge. If my state seeks a waiver, I could end up in an individual coverage high-risk pool with bigger premiums, and more limited coverage.  Plus now as I get older I can be charged five times more than a younger person.”

“But we added money for the high-risk pools.”

“Not enough from what I find. Most subsidy money you provide won’t go to high-risk pools and the $8 billion over five years you did add to get the needed votes is far from adequate according to most analysts.”

“But high-risk pools existed before.”

“Yes, 35 states, including Oregon, had them. But they were expensive and limited enrollment covered only a fraction of those who needed it. The Kaiser Family Foundation says one-fourth of adults under 65 have health conditions that made them uninsurable in the individual market. They estimate $8 billion covers only a few hundred thousand and even a conservative estimate of minimum adequacy would cost $25 billion a year.”

“Well, like Sean Spicer said, too many variables so it’s impossible to make any analysis with precision.”

“Under that theory, then it’s impossible to say your bill is sufficient when everyone else says it isn’t. There’s a high risk you’re putting me, and my family, at risk. Half of Americans say they’ve got someone in their family with pre-existing conditions.”

“The bill provides access to everyone.”

“Everyone had access before Obamacare. That didn’t mean much if they couldn’t afford it. In theory, everyone has access because they can go to the emergency room. Did you actually read the bill?”

“Not really. Too big, not enough time. It happens. We got briefings though.”

“And talking points?”

“Of course.”

“You and Trump keep saying this is going to be ‘beautiful’ and lower premiums and make health care more affordable, but the Congressional Budget Office said your earlier bill could leave 24 million uninsured by 2026, 14 million immediately.”


“The Joint Committee on Taxes estimates your bill lowers taxes on higher incomes by $275 billion over ten years…”


“The tax credits you provide are based on age not income or costs. They benefit the younger, healthier people but affordability decreases as you get older and need more medical services.”


“You cut Medicaid coverage for low-income by $880 billion over ten years…”


“The American Medical Association and American Hospital Association opposed it. The health insurance associations, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, don’t support it.”


“Trump promised insurance for everybody, lower premiums, no cuts to Medicaid, and that no one would lose coverage because they couldn’t afford it. Everybody’s going to be taken care of. How does a plan that rolls back protections for sick people, increases costs for older people, and cuts Medicaid….”

“But we kept our promise to repeal Obamacare!”

“That’s why you ran to the White House for a victory party? You know it still has to go to the Senate, right?