Opinion: Why this health plan may be the best the GOP can do right now

Now you know why Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were so desperate to pass Obamacare that they made all those promises they knew they couldn’t keep and insisted their colleagues pass the bill so we could find out what was in it.

Because what was in it was precisely the kind of intractable, middle-class entitlement the rest of us warned against, the kind of law Republicans can, as with reforms to welfare programs and other entitlements, tweak but not fully eradicate at once.

That much is clear from the plan House Republicans released Monday. It repeals large chunks of Obamacare and replaces them with provisions that are marginally to substantially more conservative. But their plan does not remove the law root and branch, as so many of them promised.

There is a reason Obama, Pelosi and Reid were willing to sacrifice so many Democratic seats in Congress to push the bill through. A reason they put health reform before climate change, immigration and so many other liberal priorities.

Obamacare, more than anything else they might have done with their filibuster-proof majority, was personal enough to enough Americans as to render it, once in place, both unpopular and immovable. If that seems like a contradiction, consider the bias many Americans have toward the status quo. That’s why public opinion of Obamacare has improved even as its biggest elements have been failing and as the likelihood of its repeal has increased: Lots of people prefer the devil they know.

That includes state governors. The offer of “free” federal money to expand Medicaid was so alluring that many GOP-led states went for it. They, too, are now constituents for the status quo.

All that, plus Democrats’ determination to protect Obamacare, puts Republicans in a poor position. There are not 60 votes to repeal and replace — anyone who spent the Obama era defending the filibuster cannot now ignore it — so the reconciliation process is the only route. And there are limits to what can be done that way, particularly when it comes to passing a replacement.

There are some folks on the right who would be content to repeal now and take more time to craft a replacement. Not only is it far from clear Congress could pull that off. It isn’t a good idea, either: The public’s bias toward the status quo also means lots of people won’t accept nothing in the interim, even if they previously opposed Obamacare.

What we are left with, then, is the first in (one hopes) a series of incremental changes. And incremental changes to a landmark law are bound to feel inadequate.

Oh, it might be possible to adjust the House GOP plan here and there. But the essence of what can be done today is already in it. If you doubt that, look no further than President Trump’s quick evolution from talking about negotiating with Congress to supporting it strongly.

That will make a lot of voters mad at Republican lawmakers. Those lawmakers deserve it, for repeatedly promising more than they could deliver.

But the hope now has to be that the GOP will keep chipping away at Washington’s market-distorting role in health care as these initial changes take root. If you find that disappointing after all these years, you’re not alone.

Reader Comments 0

669 comments
Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Microwave ovens spying on us. Massacres at Bowling Green. Millions of illegals voting. Obama tapping Trumps phone lines.


My god where will all this end ???

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Hedley_Lammar When we get 57 states, probably. Maybe when Kentucky moves closer to Arkansas. Could be when the Austrians have their own language.


Try not to soil yourself over such things.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar


I dunno. But it sure didn't end with your constant fantasizing about Trump/Russian collusion for which there is ZERO evidence of any collusion. Seems you got your own "birther" issue, Hedley. 

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

"Millions of illegals voting."

Not as concerned about them voting as I am them driving.

Read (if you can) Sunday's ajc articles re. illegals driving sans licenses on our roads, Mexican etal consulates advising them not to get behind the wheel on possibility of traffic stop & deportation. No license, no insurance. Maybe ajc should dig into that - unlikely. 

GaLatino
GaLatino

@stogiefogey Simple answer to that; make it easier to track them by issuing "non-voter" ID's so they can drive and get insured.


Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Labor participation rate still sitting about 62%


Which means the real unemployment number is probably around 40 % or so.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Hedley_Lammar Man, it sure is tempting to go back through the archives and drag in one of this troggie's rants about how we were all wet for even suggesting such a thing, but what the hell good would it even do?


Obsessive compulsive hater disorder, no known cure for it.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@DeepStateDawg Oceania was at war with Eurasia; therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia.


The unemployment numbers are true now; therefore the unemployment numbers have always been true. 


They will accept the numbers as real now. 

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Tax payers shell out $550 billion a year on Medicaid.  1 in 5 Americans are on Medicaid.  When leftists throw a hissy-fit about minor reforms to the program, or accuse Real Americans of wanting moochers to die, keep those facts in mind.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@LilBarryBailout


Medicaid also consumes almost a quarter of most state's budgets. And as has been pointed out by Kyle last week and in various studies over time people on Medicaid often have health outcomes that are no better and sometimes even worse than if they had had no insurance at all. 


We could save a ton of money by just eliminating much of the Medicaid bureaucracy and just giving health savings accounts to the poor to spend as they wish. They would have better health outcomes, the taxpayer would save money, and health providers would be much happier just swiping a debit card and having their cash immediately as opposed to dealing with the Medicaid bureaucracy. Everyone wins. 


But progs would oppose it for the simple reason that the only solution to any problem for them is to have an expensive and expansive bureaucracy. They are conditioned to think that way. 

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@Doom a classical liberal @LilBarryBailout

The amount we spend on Medicaid comes to almost $9000 per moocher--$36000 for a family of four moochers.

A Cadillac insurance policy would cost less.

But then a whole bunch of Democrat government "workers" would lose their jobs.  Can't have that.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

They can't get their bloody stool of a bill passed by telling the truth, so...


http://www.vox.com/2017/3/12/14900928/price-ahca-republican-health-plan


Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made a bold promise during a Sunday morning interview with Meet the Press. “Nobody will be worse off financially” under the Republicans’ new health care plan, he boasted.

Let’s be clear: This is a lie. Price is making an impossible promise. Low-income Americans would receive significantly less help to purchase private coverage on the individual market under the Republican plan in Congress right now. The plan would also end Medicaid expansion in two years, forcing many even lower-income Americans to lose health coverage.

There is nothing in the plan to suggest those low-income Americans would suddenly gain cheaper — or even comparable — coverage to make up for what they lose.


Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Visual_Cortex


Talk about misleading. Lemme help ya out there, VC. 


I just did a quote for a family of 4 here in GA with a 97k income. Their tax subsidy was a paltry $54. 


The premium was $991 for a silver plan with a $5500 deductible and Maximum out of pocket per person of $6700.  Primary care Doctor copays were $35 but specialists and ER room visits along with any hospitalizations are all subject to deductible. And oh, this is a very skinny HMO network so good luck if you really think your Doc takes this plan. Most Docs around here won't take this specific plan.


So if you need to see a specialist you're paying cash. Little Johnny hurt his arm and you need to take him to the ER to see if its broke? Yep. You got to meet that $5500 deductible. 


But hey, they get that great $54 subsidy huh, VC. 


Last, I ran this quote on 2 mythical 40 year old parents and 2 kids. Want to see what that premium would be for 45 or 50 year old parents or 55 year old parents with 25 year olds on their policy? Then we're talking $2,000 premium for this sorry excuse of a plan. 


You're welcome for the education, VC.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Visual_Cortex


So lower income folks have to pay a little more. So what. Most of them pay little to nothing to begin with because they are so heavily subsidized. They need to have skin in the game just like anyone else. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Doom a classical liberal @Visual_Cortex So lower income folks have to pay a little more. So what.


LOL

So rich folks like Trump can pocket a cool 200,000


Just as Jesus would have wanted. 


The point is moot really because under the new system poor people wont have insurance. Hopefully they die quickly

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

BTW, there's something a tad misleading in the article:


Right now, Americans who earn more than $48,000 get no help to purchase health plans on the individual market. 


That's only true for individuals. However, someone supporting a family of four can earn up to 97K/year and still receive a subsidy. See also:

https://www.healthcare.gov/lower-costs/qualifying-for-lower-costs/

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Visual_Cortex If I was Price, I would have said "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" and "my plan will save you $2,500 a year" and then I would have busted out laughing and flipped off the enemy of the people.


And then said "Deal with it."

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @Doom a classical liberal @Visual_Cortex


Nope. It just means that lower income people wouldn't be subsidized as much. But they would still be subsidized so you can dispense with the emotional drama a bit. 


Jesus? Interesting that a self proclaimed atheist brings Jesus into the conversation. But since you did lemme splain something to you. Jesus taught charitable, voluntary giving- not coercion. 


"Hopefully they die quickly"


Emotional arguments are the hobgoblin of small minds.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Telephone Town Hall meetings are for gutless cowards. Grow some stones US Congressmen from the state of Georgia.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@breckenridge

It's a good way of avoiding contact with the deranged, violent leftists still throwing their hissy-fits after losing on November 8.

Grow up, Democrats.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

 Senior Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway addressed the president's claim of wiretapping in the Trump Tower in an interview with USA Today. Conway said there is more ways to surveil than just wiretapping.


"What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other," she said. "You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets -- any number of ways."



If it is true, that the fed is peeping into your lives through the TV set, or any other means, then we do not need a fed anymore. These weirdos should be caged in their own little zoo, for the remainder of their lives. This is not east germany, last time I checked.

Caius
Caius

@AndyManUSA#45 Tossed my microwave and TV in the dump already this morning.  Still have my rotary phone, guess I will try to see if it will work.


missgrace
missgrace

Wow. I am impressed that you have accepted the GOP line hook, line and sinker.

csl76504
csl76504

As Karen said I'm impressed that any one can profit $6708 in one month on the internet . Why not try here ...........................>http://gee.su/gOHyU

breckenridge
breckenridge

Dear Donald Trump, 


The last thing this country needs is more g.d. military spending.  Take you defense budget increase request and stick it where the sun...........well you get the idea.


Sincerely,


Breck

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@breckenridge  You should add a P.S. to that: P.S. Breck likes wars and wants a really big one.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

In Bookman's absence the stupid ones have migrated over to Kyle's blog trying their desperate best to defend the fool that occupied the  White House for the last eight years by disparaging its newest occupant. These lemmings are what has been wrong with America for too long. It will take time to undo the damage but Trump, is off to a good start. 

Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

@AvgGeorgian @SGTGrit Snowflakes are just like those 'journalists' and 'intellectuals' who screamed and cried about Ronald Reagan. What happened was the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in America's history. Snowflakes HATE The Truth and The Facts. In just a little over 50 days, this president's agenda has been going full steam by creating job$, eliminating regulations, lowering taxes for all and dismantling the failed Welfare State. Everyone in this agenda WINS! Amen, Bill 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@SGTGrit

the stupid ones have migrated over to Kyle's blog 

Well, we got your stupidest posting to Jay's, so it's a fair trade innit.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@SGTGrit

Hey Grit - seems that only trumpers keep bringing up Obama. If you want to compare, please advise on trump's bragging about job #s he said were phony when O was pres.


Oh and where is Trumps's millions of illegal  voters proof? waiting.....


The wiretap evidence? Haha


Little crybaby donny lies like a rug and you worship him because you signed the "quit thinkin' " pledge when you drank the republiaid.


Now snowflake,  say some republican slogans and talk about your feelings instead of manning up and talking about facts and logic. Go ahead. Make my post.

WWYT?
WWYT?

Let me get this straight.  I paid social security taxes for 55 years and now I'm a moocher for collecting what is rightfully mine?

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

SS is a pay as you go system. There's no account with your name on it.

Now, Our President Bush did propose reforms that would have done just that, but moochers decided they preferred the pittance of SS to ownership of their accounts.

I feel very sorry for anyone relying on SS for a significant part of their retirement plan.

justaniceguy
justaniceguy

@Lil_Barry_Bailout That's interesting... I get a statement from the SS administration from time to time showing how much I've paid in, and how much I could expect to collect at certain ages... almost like an "account".

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

I don't doubt you'll get it, but it isn't yours. Most of what you and I will receive will be paid in by struggling young parents, millennials, and small businessmen.

WWYT?
WWYT?

@Lil_Barry_Bailout What's your point?  Whether they are relying on it or not, they're not moochers.  It must be great to be perfect.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Dumb as I am, I'll never be dependent on government for my income. The country would be far better off if everyone was so dumb.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

My point is that SS is a handout program.

The fact someone paid SS taxes for decades entitles them to exactly zip.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Lil_Barry_Bailout

There's no account with your name on it.

I know exactly how much I've paid into it, as does anyone who pays a smidgeon of attention to such things.

I think there are a lot of guys posting online who get paid in cash, who underreport a crap-ton of income, who know they're not going to get anything substantial back via SS as a result... who'd be fine watching the system crash and burn through piratization.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@WWYT? @Lil_Barry_Bailout 

Read LilBaBa's posts and ask yourself if they are indicative of an intellect and business savvy needed to be independently financially successful. On an anonymous blog you can claim anything you want, but the way you post reveals what you really are.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Starik @Lil_Barry_Bailout

The point is, HIS handouts are going to be paltry, because like a lot of loudmouths who hate SS, he's been avoiding paying his taxes for a lot of years.

So he urinates on those of us who, yeah, actually DO count on that income to provide a decent chunk (NOT the majority) of our retirement income, and yeah, would be ready to drag the piratizers out of their beds and slaughter them in the street if they actually eliminated the program.

Because that'd be the right thing to do, and our grandchildren would thank us.