One of the biggest news stories at the moment is, of course, Donald Trump Jr.’s emails that reveal that a Russian government official contacted one of President Donald Trump's former business partners during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. And, not only that, but the official offered Trump Jr. and the Trump campaign incriminating information on and then-Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It’s kind of a big deal, especially with the ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in order to sway the results of the 2016 election. (Representatives for Donald Trump. Jr did not immediately respond to Romper’s request for comment regarding whether he could face criminal charges for agreeing to meet with a Russian official to receive information on behalf of the Russian government.) But Donald Trump Jr.’s emails shouldn’t distract us from another very important topic, and one that could have lasting effects long after the question of the criminality of Trump Jr.’s emails is put to rest — that of the Republican-backed health care bill.
According to Reuters, Republican senators are still working on passing the bill, and although some GOP leaders, like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, seem determined to keep trying to come to an agreement on it, the future of the legislation is in danger. And according to Business Insider, the latest Donald Trump Jr. controversy may only hurt the chances of the bill passing even more.
In regards to the emails and the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, Isaac Boltansky, an analyst at the political research firm Compass Point, told Business Insider that Republicans may be less able to sustain any sort of political momentum amidst all the negative news:
Some will view this meeting revelation as the smoking gun, while others will view it as nothing more than the realities of modern politic. Either way, our message to clients is that the total tonnage of questions will have an impact on both Congressional GOP support for the White House and the broader legislative agenda.
And that could mean bad news for the Better Care Reconciliation Act.
However, despite the Trump Jr. controversy and the fact that the proposed Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is extremely unpopular (just 17 percent of Americans supported it according to an NPR "PBS NewsHour" poll), Republicans may still push the bill in the coming days, and we need to be paying attention to important stories and updates in regards to that, and not just to whatever new twist may pop up in the Trump Jr. email scandal.
Sometimes it can feel like there's a new scandal of controversy with the Trump administration every day. It honestly can get very exhausting. So it can be hard to try to keep up with all the political news, especially when so much of it seems so unbelievable.
But when there is a political development, like anything regarding the BCRA, that could have a long-lasting impact on policy and the everyday lives of people in this country, we need to pay attention.
That's what Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, is trying to remind Americans to do in the tweet above. Yes, the Russia-Trump Jr. story is important. And yes, it needs to be given attention as well.
But so does the GOP health care bill, and any developments related to it. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported in late June that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the uninsured rate for low-income older adults would increase from 11 percent under current law to 26 percent under the BCRA by the year 2026. The foundation also reported that an estimated 15 million people could lose Medicaid coverage by 2026 under the BCRA, according to CBO.
Those numbers should shock you. They are outrageous. And Americans need to be talking about them, and the potential legislation that could make them a reality.
So yes, talk about the Trump Jr. email controversy. It does, after all, include shocking revelations that deserve to be discussed.
But don't lose sight of other political concerns that demand scrutiny as well. The fight over health care coverage and access continues, and it deserves just as much of your attention.