Should-Read: Atul Gewande: How the Senate’s Health-Care Bill Threatens the Nation's Health: "The Senate bill would also ultimately make people who buy insurance on the A.C.A. exchanges—people without coverage from an employer or from Medicaid—pay far more money for far worse coverage...

...especially if they are age fifty or older. The standard “reference” plan on the exchanges would cover barely more than half of medical costs, while cost-sharing subsidies for working-class people would be eliminated, and the level of tax credits available to them would be cut, too. The result: the median deductible would jump from the current five hundred dollars to more than six thousand dollars. The annual premium for a sixty-year-old earning fifty thousand dollars in my home town of Athens, Ohio, would triple, to fourteen thousand dollars. In many parts of the country, things would be much worse. (In Anchorage, Alaska, for example, premiums would be thirty-six thousand dollars.) The bill, in other words, promises terrible coverage at unaffordable prices. Millions of people would have to give up insurance, leaving them without protection and the entire individual-insurance market at risk of collapse.

The trade-offs here are indefensible. The bill would take a trillion dollars away from health coverage for the bottom fifty per cent of the population to give a tax cut to the top two per cent. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities did the math: one consequence of the legislation is that three-quarters of a million people would be thrown off of the Medicaid rolls to give the four hundred highest earners in the country a thirty-three-billion-dollar tax cut. The bill would put thousands of nursing homes, clinics, and hospitals into financial trouble. And for patients it would mean more medical debts, more untreated sickness, and more deaths. A basic test of government is its ability to prevent large-scale harm to its citizens’ health and survival. This bill, and this Administration, are failing that test.