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  • David Koch (L), Donald Trump (C) and Charles Koch (R) are competing to see who can cut off more people from healthcare coverage.

    David Koch (L), Donald Trump (C) and Charles Koch (R) are competing to see who can cut off more people from healthcare coverage. | Photo: Reuters

Published 23 March 2017

"No legislation in recent decades cut low-income programs this much," yet the Koch brothers are looking to kill Trumpcare for not cutting more. 

When the Congressional Budget Office concluded that U.S. President Donald Trump's proposed health care legislation would mean 24 million U.S. residents would lose health coverage, Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said the numbers were better than he thought.

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For the far-right Republican power broker Koch brothers, they're still not good enough.

On Wednesday, just one day before a key vote on the legislation — a vote which many think could determine the viability of the Trump administration — the Koch brothers pledged millions of dollars in campaign funds to Republican lawmakers who oppose the bill.

"We want to make certain that lawmakers understand the policy consequences of voting for a law that keeps Obamacare intact," said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. "We have a history of following up and holding politicians accountable, but we will also be there to support and thank the champions who stand strong and keep their promise."

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American for Prosperity, the powerful lobby network created by the Koch brothers to push reactionary libertarian policies, announced a new campaign fund for Republican candidates in the 2018 Congressional elections, saying it would only be available to those voting "no” on Thursday.

The Koch brothers' push to defeat the bill comes despite changes Ryan made as recently as Tuesday to appease those who say Trumpcare — known officially as the American Health Care Act — will still provide coverage to too many people, and doesn't go far enough to dismantle Medicaid, the program which guarantees basic healthcare to impoverished residents.

Tuesday's amendments would impose a "work requirement” for Medicaid recipients as well as provide funding in what are called "block grants,” making it impossible for states to adjust for increased enrollment.

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Those changes deepen the already historic Medicaid cuts proposed in the original version of Trumpcare, which would see an estimated US$880 billion cut over 10 years in order to cover a massive tax cut for the richest U.S. households.

"No legislation enacted in recent decades cut low-income programs this much — or even comes close," Robert Greenstein, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told Vox.

The health care battle between the far-right wing of the Republican Party, represented by the Koch brothers, and its lunatic fringe, represented by Trump and Ryan, illustrates just how far the Republicans are from the U.S. population at large.

While support for Obamacare has dropped as mandated insurance premiums rise, polls suggest that most feel the historic legislation — which saw an expansion of Medicaid and millions of U.S. residents insured for the first time — doesn't go far enough.

While Obamacare maintains a private, for-profit health care model, for years opinion polls have shown that the majority of U.S. residents actually want some form of public health care.

As recently as May 2016, a Gallup poll found that 58 percent wanted to replace the Affordable Health Care Act — known as Obamacare — with a universal, federally funded program.

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