The political world has been abuzz with the release of the House GOP’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Except, it neither replaces nor repeals Obamacare. As Caleb pointed out earlier, they are treating it like “repeal” was never on the table.
Ever since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, Republicans have not only vowed to repeal Obamacare, but have fundraised off the idea of repeal. Donald Trump stated multiple times that Washington would “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. The GOP in Congress has repeatedly passed dozens of show votes on repealing it.
But, when it comes time to actually do something, the Congress out-Congresses itself and writes what can only be considered as the New And Improved Obamacare v2.0.
The legislation starts off bad, because it admits right there in the opening lines that this bill will amend the Affordable Care Act. So, right away, you know you as a conservative, as someone who has supported the Republican Party because they are not the Democratic Party, have been lied to.
But, it gets worse.
First of all, these tax credits to shop on the open market, as they are being touted, appear to be little more than a government handout on a different level. Call it food stamps for insurance (insurance stamps?), but given out based on age and not income. So, the young and wealthy can potentially receive more assistance for insurance than the old and poor.
The framers of this bill correctly realized that Obamacare’s major issues came from a lack of young people purchasing insurance. However, they come to the incorrect conclusion that we should find a way to entice more young people into a system that Republican voters have repeatedly stated they don’t want.
Both Reason and Forbes agree on this matter, and have stated that it poses an unnecessary risk to older citizens in need of health coverage. Forbes goes so far as to say it will price the old out of the insurance market entirely.
Even worse than all this, however, is the way it handles the regulations set up by Obamacare. That’s right. “Handles.” Not “obliterates.” Because the law doesn’t do that. It doesn’t get rid of the insane regulations that have devastated the insurance market in the first place. It preserves them.
The GOP is treating this as a multi-stage rollout of a new plan over the next four years (the major spending issues of Obamacare seem to not be addressed until 2020). Trump, as Scott Hounsell points out, went on Twitter to push this as a fix that will come in “phases.” Members of the GOP Congress and their staff are also pushing the same.
But, it all appears to be a means to reshape the behemoth of Obamacare without tearing much down in any way. The biggest change seems to be the aforementioned tax credit, and that is going to create a whole host of problems on its own.
We have to go back to one simple question: Why not just repeal and start over? Why amend something that is terrible? Why try to make it better? You’re going to end up with something like Swiss cheese. There will be holes all in the product, and yet you’ll be paying more for it.
It doesn’t make sense.