If Paul Ryan’s ObamaCare-lite bill makes it to president Trump’s desk in any form close to what it is now and he signs it, it will become Trump’s healthcare debacle. Although it should be called RyanCare or CowardCare, it will ultimately end up as what I coined on Wednesday – O-DonaldCare.
And this is the shame of it. The president can’t know everything, so he must rely on honest brokers to give him an accurate account of various bills. Rand Paul, who is steadfast against the Republican bill, thinks the Republicans, particularly Paul Ryan, are not being accurate or honest with Trump. My buddy, Onan Coca at Constitution.com quotes Paul saying: “I don’t think it makes any sense and I think he’s [Ryan] trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the president.”
Unfortunately that’s just the way it works. Presidents get congratulated on everything good that happens on their watch, but also get hung, rightly or wrongly, by any failures. Few will remember or care that this sham started with Paul Ryan, anymore than we recall that Obama didn’t draft ObamaCare. Yet no one calls that GruberCare, after its architect, Jonathan Gruber, do they. All that will matter is that Trump promoted it and ultimately signed it, so it’s his baby – Rosemary’s baby!
Now I must admit, that in my haste to rush my initial reaction out to the Republican bill, I didn’t do justice to just how bad this thing is and I also was inaccurate on a point or two. If you care to go back and read it you may do so here.
I also admit that I am not personally privy to all that is in the Republican replacement bill, so must therefore rely on experts I trust to do that leg-work for me.
One of those experts is Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz. He was featured on Mark Levin’s Tuesday evening radio program. He did a great job breaking down and explaining the bill, and unfortunately for conservatives, it’s worse than even I made it out to be – possibly worse than ObamaCare.
Right out of the gate, Horowitz confirms what we suspected and why the Republicans are calling the bill a replacement. Daniel says that the bill in fact DOES NOT repeal ObamaCare.
“ObamaCare at its core are the price-hiking regulations and then the subsidies that further distort the market. The regulations and the subsidies remain in place,” says Horowitz. He adds that after 2020, the subsidies are maybe even worse.
The Republican bill does repeal one thing – the requirement to purchase healthcare. As he explains – from a cost stand point, this is much worse than ObamaCare. One of the aspects of Obamacare that made it even kind of solvent, from a government perspective, is that healthy people were forced to buy insurance they didn’t need, all to pay for those who did, and those whom the “government” subsidized.
Daniel explains that the Republican plan takes that back-stop away. This may sound great for those who don’t want or need health insurance, but it creates a huge hole in the budget. In other words, O-DonaldCare will become more insolvent and sooner than even ObamaCare. And he adds that, “this time, Republicans will actually own it.” Worse – Trump, who may not be aware of all the dirty details, will also own it.
The thing I misinterpreted slighty was the 30% penalty. According to Republicans, the individual mandate to require purchase of health insurance will be lifted. This means that you will be able to cancel your insurance at any time. When you decide to reinstate, you pay a 30% penalty and voila, you’re insured again. It’s actually better, or worse, than that, as Horowitz explains.
He claims that the 30% penalty won’t kick in until 2020. So one will be able to opt in and out of the health insurance market whenever it is advantageous to do so, incurring no penalty for another 3 years. And regardless of your condition, you cannot be denied coverage, because they leave in the preexisting condition clause. That is absolutely absurd and completely unworkable.
Imagine all other insurance being dispensed the same way. We could all cancel our home owners/renters insurance – wait for a fire or theft and reinstate. We can let lapse our auto insurance policies until after an accident. Even life insurance could be off-loaded for a later time – say after someone dies.
Think it can’t get worse? Think again. Horowitz explains that as ObamaCare subsidies are tailored to lower incomes, the Republican subsidies are expanded to include middle and upper incomes.
According to Mark Levin, the upper limit for government subsidy, which they just renamed as a tax credit, is an individual earning $215,000 or total family income of around $290,000/year. Worse, if I’m not mistaken, the “credit” will actually be in the form of a direct payment, issued to the recipient every month, as an advance on their “tax credit.” In other words – welfare for all!
So if this is really as big a potential disaster as we make it out to be, why is the entrenched establishment pushing it so hard? Well – that’s simple – ‘K’ Street lobbyists.
As Jake Novak at CNBC wrote: “One look at this Obamacare replacement bill and you can see how big insurance company and hospital lobbyists have their fingerprints all over it. The continued high number of minimum coverage requirements for any approved insurance plan will effectively keep smaller competitors out of the market and out of business. So much for increased competition. And big hospitals will win out thanks to the bill’s continuation of the Medicaid expansion. Lobbyists have never cared what party controls Congress, they just lobby and usually win.”
Hopefully President Trump will see the light by way of some honest advice and run from this disaster that could ultimately sink even him.