On Thursday, House Republicans finally scored a victory and passed the American Health Care Act, a giant tax cut for the rich disguised as a health care plan that, were it to become law, would strip tens of millions of Americans of their insurance. Last week on Late Night with Seth Meyers, the host took aim at the bill in his “A Closer Look” segment, and on last night’s episode, Meyers revealed that his team actually got an email from House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office that disputed his account of the bill.
“Unlike Republicans and their healthcare bill,” Meyers said, “we actually read the whole email.”
Meyers took the opportunity to respond to the email “point by point.” First, Ryan’s office took issue with Meyers’s description of the bill as “rushed,” pointing out that it had been online for a whole month and that the slightly altered bill that passed the House last week only had a “simple three-page amendment.” Meyers called that statement “misleading for a number of reasons.” To state the obvious, he noted that the amendment was the only reason some House Republicans changed their minds and voted for the bill, so its contents are pretty important. “That’s like saying, ‘I made you a cappuccino with hot water, sugar, espresso, and one other ingredient.’ You would say, ‘Well, what’s the other ingredient, Mr. Cosby?'”
Let’s not forget the issue of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which is presumably the real reason this bill has Trump and Ryan salivating. Meyers cites a CNN report, emphasizing that the top 1 percent will get an average tax cut of $30,000, while the top 0.1 percent will see that bumped to an average of $197,000.
And, of course, the amended bill that passed the House contained a provision allowing states to opt out of a ban on pre-existing conditions included in the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. Republicans’ answer to critics on this issue is to point to an alternative: high-risk pools, which, as Meyers describes them, are “basically separate insurance plans for older and sicker people” that have historically provided “worse coverage at much higher costs.” It doesn’t help that Republican Congressmen don’t themselves seem to understand how they work.