Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

House Republican Health Care Plan

            The GOP campaigned on the promise that they would repeal and replace Obamacare. They had plenty of time to write a plan to keep their promise. Instead, they come out with a plan that fails to do what they said they would do.

            Senator Rand Paul, a medical doctor, has been searching for the GOP plan for days. When he finally saw it, he nearly went ballistic, and he apparently has some basis for doing so. Edmund Haislmaier “is an expert in health care policy and markets at The Heritage Foundation.” He agrees that the new plan has some serious problems. He discusses some of the problem in an article published at The Daily Signal titled “House Republican Health Care Bill Misses the Mark.” 

            According to Haislmaier, the “key problem with the draft House health care bill is that it fails to correct the features of Obamacare that drove up health insurance costs. Instead, it mainly tweaks Obamacare’s financing and subsidy structure.” He continues with this statement.

   Basically, the bill focuses on protecting those who gained subsidized coverage though the law’s exchange subsidies and Medicaid expansion, while failing to correct Obamacare’s misguided insurance regulations that drove up premiums for Americans buying coverage without government subsidies.

   That is both a policy problem and a political problem.
   About 22 million individuals currently receive subsidized health coverage through the exchanges (8 million) and the Medicaid expansion (14 million). For them, Obamacare’s higher insurance costs are offset by the law’s subsidies.

   However, that is not the case for another group of about 25 million Americans with unsubsidized individual-market coverage (10 million people) or small-employer plans (at least another 15 million people).

   Those 25 million are the ones who most need relief from Obamacare, and have the strongest motivation to politically support repeal and replace. Their lived experience of Obamacare has basically been “all pain, no gain,” as they have been subjected to significant premium increases and coverage dislocations with no offsetting subsidies.

   Unfortunately, the draft House bill provides no meaningful relief for that group that is most adversely affected by Obamacare and most supportive of repeal.

   Instead, the draft bill leaves Obamacare’s costly insurance regulations in place, and attempts to offset those costs with even more subsidies – a variant of the same basic approach in Obamacare.

            Haislmaier continues by explaining that the new subsidy program is “particularly problematic.” It “substitutes new funding for old Obamacare funding” without solving any problems. It does not “actually reduce premiums,” but “masks” them with subsidies. It also “creates a new entitlement for states” and sets the stage for extending and expanding the program. He also discusses other problems with the plan. It does not decrease the Medicaid expansion and may increase it. It does not do anything about “providing more equitable tax treatment of health insurance.”

            Haislmaier summarizes by stating that “This bill misses the mark primarily because it fails to correct the features of Obamacare that drove up health care costs. Congress should continue to focus on first repealing the failed policy of Obamacare and then act to offer patient-centered, market-based replacement reforms.”

            There you have it folks. If you did not like Obamacare, you probably will not like the House’s plan. Now is the time to let your representatives know that you want Obamacare repealed in total and you want a better plan. Do not wait until their bill is signed into law. They promised to repeal Obamacare and must be held to their promise!

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