Monday, July 02, 2012

GOP is stunningly wrong on healthcare

No question the Affordable Care Act has problems that will need to be addressed at some point. The issue at hand is what is the alternative to it?

The provisions within the ACA that are popular and would go away with the promised repeal are:

1. Insuring kids up to age 26 on their parents' plan
2. Including 30 million uninsured into either private insurance or Medicaid
3. Prohibiting life time benefit limits on chronically ill patients
4. Wellness coverage for routine screenings
5. Pre-existing condition coverage at the federal level

If the GOP has it's way, all these would be repealed in January 2013 with no alternative plan in place.

House Speaker John Boehner: "Deal with it"

Boehner explains: "We believe that the state high-risk pools are a much more effective way to make sure that those with pre-existing have access to affordable health insurance."

"Access" to affordable health insurance," O'Donnell repeats, "You're not saying that you would be for a law that would prevent discrimination against those individuals?"

"No," states Boehner flatly, "We just believe there's a better way to make sure that they have affordable access to quality health insurance."

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell: The uninsured "are not the issue."

Video here.

"I just want to ask what specific steps are you going to do to provide universal coverage to the 30 million people who are uninsured?" Wallace pressed.

"That is not the issue," McConnell insisted.

"You don't think the 30 million people who are uninsured is an issue?" Wallace wondered.

"We're not going to turn the American health care system into a Western European system," the Kentucky Republican replied. "They want to have the federal government take over all of American health care."


From Forbes:

...Under RomneyCare, as Rick Santorum supporters called it during the primaries, 98 percent of the state’s residents have affordable health insurance. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has not gone broke. It’s unemployment level is 6 percent this month, falling from 6.3 percent in April and better than the national average of 8.3 percent. No one is even considering overturning the 2006 law, sources from Blue Cross Blue Shield told me earlier this year. Mike Widmer, president of the non-partisan Massachusetts Taxpayers Association, told me the same thing when I was covering the New Hampshire primaries for Forbes. 

Companies are not going belly up because of RomneyCare. Private insurers operate in the state along side the non-profit health insurers like Harvard Pilgrim and Blue Cross Blue Shield. There have not been massive layoffs in the industry because of the law.

Over the five full fiscal years since the law’s enactment, the state has spent $91 million a year, well within the budgeted expectations. RomneyCare is not a budget buster, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says.

Boehner and McConnell would deny people like this:

(h/t OTS)

My comment:

While I am loathe to put 30 million individuals on Medicaid, the status quo of having one out of three adults under age 65 uninsured is not sustainable.

The Republicans would be cognitively consistent if they would also be calling for the repeal of Emergency Medical and Transfer Active Labor Act (EMTALA) and admit that if the Constitution cannot compel people to get insurance it also cannot compel doctors and hospitals to care for the sick without payment.

Kentucky tried to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions without a mandate and the predictable happened: everybody just waited until they got sick to take out a health insurance policy-- like getting car insurance after you ran into the telephone pole-- and premiums went up 40%. Duh.  But then Kentucky also elected Rand Paul to the Senate so that fits.

The mandate is necessary. My fear is that the ACA's penalty (or tax or fee or whatever you want to call it) for free-riders is not strong enough...but that's another issue.

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