Meet the Republicans who oppose Trumpcare

Zack Ford Editor, Think Progress LGBT

House Republicans have finally unveiled their plan to undo Obamacare, but not all congressional Republicans are on board with the controversial new plan.

For some, the plan is still too liberal. Members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a caucus of 170 House conservatives, prepared an analysis critiquing the plan with “major concerns” that it’s too similar to Obamacare. For example, the RSC memo objects to the fact that the plan extends Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion for three years. This, it argues, “will contribute to the worsening of the federal and state budgets” and will leave “the federal government picking up the majority of the bill.”

These members simply do not want the federal government spending money to help the lowest-income Americans afford health coverage. In fact, they chide supporters of the plan for allowing the Medicaid expansion to “avoid the political consequences and pain of unwinding expansion.” Apparently, making it so that some 11 million Americans can no longer afford or access health insurance isn’t politically popular, but it’s still what some of these Congressional Republicans would prefer on principle.

Likewise, the RSC memo objects to the new plan offering tax credits to help people access health insurance through individual plans. “Writing checks to individuals to purchase insurance is, in principle, Obamacare,” the memo states. Even though it acknowledges that this approach “does allow more choices for individuals” and “is more patient-centered,” it’s still not acceptable because the federal government simply shouldn’t “fund insurance purchases.” Freedom means people being left to fend for themselves.

Among those unimpressed by the plan are Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who called it “Obamacare by a different form”; Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), who complained that he’s seen “no evidence that this bill will bring the cost curve down”; and Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), who called it “Obamacare 2.0.”

Some of these members have openly said that they wouldn’t support the legislation in its current form, but it’s unclear how many are willing to take such a stance against it. House Republicans can only afford to lose 21 votes, assuming all Democrats vote against it.

Meanwhile, however, several Republican Senators object to the new Trumpcare plan for being too conservative. In fact, on some of the same points the RSC complains that the legislation doesn’t go far enough, these Senators think it goes too far.

Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Monday evening expressing “concerns” that the drafted plan “does not adequately protect individuals and families in Medicaid expansion programs or provide necessary flexibility for states.”

Though the Senators explain that they support repealing Obamacare, they’re worried about the many people who lose Medicaid coverage from a “poorly implemented or poorly timed change in the current funding structure.” Any replacement plan, they argue, must allow for “a stable transition period and the opportunity to gradually phase-in their populations to any new Medicaid financing structure.”

“We will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states,” they write.

That could be a serious problem in the Senate, where Republicans can only afford to lose three votes. Losing those four would prevent the legislation from passing.

In short, Republicans throughout Congress seem to be torn between their fiscally conservative ideological principles and the political pressure to actually ensure their constituents continue to have access to health care. Apparently, those town halls are making an impression.


UPDATE: There are now some Republicans in the Senate who are also opposing the bill for being too liberal. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) called it “Obamacare Lite” and said that “it will not pass.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) similarly called the bill a “missed opportunity and step in wrong direction”

If Paul and Lee refuse to vote for it, Senate Republicans can‘t lose any more votes if they expect the bill to pass.

Zack Ford is the editor of ThinkProgress LGBT at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, hailing from the small town of Newport, PA. Prior to joining ThinkProgress, Zack blogged for two years at ZackFordBlogs.com with occasional cross-posts at Pam’s House Blend. He also co-hosts a popular LGBT-issues podcast called Queer and Queerer with activist and performance artist Peterson Toscano. A graduate of Ithaca College (B.M. Music Education) and Iowa State University (M.Ed. Higher Education), Zack is an accomplished pianist with a passion for social justice education. Follow him on Twitter at @ZackFord.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work