Will Democrats be able to capitalize on GOP’s health votes? – Orange County Register

For the last seven years, most of the 14 Republicans representing parts of California in Congress railed against Obamacare, high corporate taxes and illegal immigration.

But that was mere chatter. So long as a Democrat was president, nothing new was going to happen. And so, even though Obamacare policy holders, illegal immigrants and poor people abound in many of their districts, their talk never cost them much. That could change soon.

For Republican Donald Trump controls the White House today and pushes constantly on those issues. He makes GOP congressional talk more than mere noise. What was empty rhetoric now can become reality. This was never more clear than when all 14 California Republicans voted to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare’s formal name, and replace it with far inferior health insurance.

Example A might be Jeff Denham of Atwater, whose 10th District contains a large Latino populace and about 100,000 persons whose health insurance comes via Obamacare. Denham won re-election last year by 51.7-48.3 percent over Democratic farmer Michael Eggman, the winning margin fully 70 percent below its 2014 level.

In a town hall in his district about two weeks before the Obamacare vote, Denham assured more than 1,000 constituents that “I’m a ‘no’ on the health care bill until it is responsive to my community.”

Turning him around was a last-minute amendment to create high-risk pools for persons with pre-existing conditions and provide $8 billion over five years to subsidize premiums a bit for this type of coverage, whose premiums have always been sky-high. At the same time, the bill takes at least $800 billion from Medicaid (known here as Medi-Cal) over 10 years.

Medi-Cal covers about 300,000 Denham constituents, many among the estimated 24 million persons likely to lose coverage under the Republican plan. Will those people brand him a liar and turn out next year to dump him? No one can predict.

The health care bill passed the House by a…

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