By Jason Taylor
The Republicans are completely in thrall to the billionaires. Billionaires want to pay lower taxes, but they put it nicer than that. They don’t say they want to pay lower taxes. They say they believe in a smaller government which is really the same thing but leaves out the issue of money. Billionaires finance the Republican candidates well enough that they can buy enough advertising that they can win in most cases. So if the Republican candidates wish to win, they feel, they must do what their overlords want — cut taxes.
And this explains the cruelty of the Republican members of Congress who are willing to destroy the health care security of millions of Americans when, in fact, the country can well afford to give good health care to all Americans, as is done in all the other industrialized countries of the world — even Russia. But it will cost the billionaires and they don’t like it. Therefore their Republican servants vote against it.
The worst parts of the Republican bill will not take effect until 2020 and beyond. The “good” parts, repealing the individual and employer mandates and penalties and, I suppose, the Cruz amendment allowing skimpier, cheaper plans in the individual market, would take effect immediately.
So essentially the only people “losing” insurance in the first year will be the young and healthy who voluntarily drop it, while there is no mass loss of coverage immediately by those who are getting premium subsidies on the Obamacare exchanges or through expanded Medicaid in states that accepted it. If any premiums rise or other problems surface in the first year or two, Republicans can write them off as the lingering effects of Obamacare before their “better” Trumpcare kicks in all the way. And they will not lose their base of voters in the midterm and 2020 elections over any widespread personal harm their health care law has done.
They will campaign on “keeping our promise” and “freedom from government mandates and regulation.” They will claim that the critics of their law were misrepresenting it all along and the CBO scores were wrong. When the full effects of the law start hitting in 2020, they will all be safely re-elected.
This Republican Senate effort isn’t about Health care. It’s about enriching the insurance industry, the finance industry, and the banks. The Cruz idea seems to be a cash cow for the insurance companies. Benefits from the cut rate plans would be paltry to non-existent. The proposed health savings accounts, and who can save, will enrich the already highly profitable banks and the finance industry would have a part in all this and greatly benefit. The wife of Senator Cruz is either presently or was a vice president with Goldman Sachs indicating a severe conflict of interest in the Senators proposed idea.
The problem with “choice” is that it assumes consumers have all the necessary information to make an informed decision. People have no idea what types and how much medical care they will need, let alone the ability to estimate what it will cost. Republicans need to stop treating the medical industry as efficient and transparent, it simply is not.
Junk insurance from junk legislation from a junk party. This is just what you would expect from a party that tries, too often successfully, to convince people that up is down, east is west or day is night. Anyone who doubts this should check out Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s remarks on the GOP’s effort to undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (available on the C-SPAN website); he cast it as being in the interests of consumers. This party is populated by frauds from Trump down.
The health insurance industry, which profitably sold junk plans prior to ACA, is suddenly against re-allowing those sales. My guess is the industry is beginning to see that “single payer” is not just a “fringe” view anymore, but a movement that’s gaining real legs now that the Republican alternatives to ACA are on display and found wanting. Even Republican voters are wary — who knows what they envisioned after 8 years of GOP “repeal and replace” rhetoric that never articulated what the “replace” part would look like, but I’m guessing it wasn’t a reversion back to the good ole’ days of medical underwriting and junk plans.
The only solution Republicans have for reducing premiums is to make insurance cover less, which doesn’t solve the problem of health care costs, it just shifts the responsibility from insurance corporations and government back to the individual. The movement for single payer is gaining steam and if anything resembling these bills becomes law it will be an inevitability that we will back at the “reform” discussion again in less than a decade once the effects settle in. And insurers are likely coming to realize that next discussion is not going to be centered around their input and viability but as an alternative to the current system entirely, and that their seat at the table will be on the roasting platter this time.
Let Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of the Senate Republicans, be mandated to enjoy the same “choice” they want to afflict the American people with while passing a bill that provides all Americans with the same health insurance the Senators currently enjoy.
Who will pay for all the defaulted hospital bills, prescription drug bills, emergency room bills, medical device bills and surgery bills when those with “affordable” bare-bones plans can’t pay (including those under 35 who think they don’t need coverage and whose earnings are still relatively low)? When the bill totals are too high for any citizen to pay, even if they paid for the rest of their lives, the burden will fall to the tax payer. Hmm. When the bills can be paid, but a patient doesn’t have cash, the bills can be financed with personal loans, through banks, at 20%+ interest.
If the tax payer (government) and/or the banks refuse to finance the bills, and the receivables are written off by the holders, the stock of those companies drop, affecting the investment (read mutual funds that finance IRAs and 401ks) of those middle class workers who have committed to long term savings. Ironically, everybody gets hurt — even the rich, when their portfolios take a hit. Are you following along? Because if you are, this doesn’t make any sense. What Ted Cruz is proposing would be the worst of both worlds. Covered people would be throwing good money at bad insurance. Insurers would collect premiums for nominal coverage. And Cruz, along with his Republican associates in Congress, would never settle for something so limp for themselves and their families.
“The measure would also allow companies to take into account people’s health status in determining whether to insure them and at what price.”
So, in essence, Version 2 of the Senate replacement plan has to keep gutting more things in order to woo votes, but if passed, would return us to the Wild West of health care pre-ACA. Of course, insurance markets will be skewered! Of course, premiums will soar if only sick people sign up for the comprehensive plans, assuming they are accepted at all. Of course, consumers will be stiffed, when they bet on a healthy year and then end up with a serious illness. They might as well repeal the ACA and replace it with nothing, which is what this current plans really offers: no coverage for a low price, or maybe coverage for an exorbitant price.
What a quintessential Republican idea: take a government program that works exceedingly well for those who desperately need it and replace it with a free-market fantasy that serves only to enrich CEO’s pockets. An idea so horrible it could have only come from Ted Cruz. People don’t think about the quality of their insurance until they really need it, and all of us are susceptible to devastating illness or injury without warning.
The very nature of health care means that no individual patient can completely and accurately anticipate their needs. For Cruz to talk about plans tailored to individual needs is deliberately deceptive double-talk.
The country is jumping through all these hoops with little more reason than to preserve the enormous wealth of the health insurance companies. All the worry, aggravation, and disruption, just to perpetuate a component of medical care that isn’t even part of the ‘care’ itself. The illnesses we experience in our lives is simply a conduit funneling billions to an industry that has shown us time and time again they’d prefer we not receive any health care at all if it will cost them a penny.
The current U.S. health care system is both very complicated and very expensive for many people. The only sensible alternative is a national, single-payer plan such as Medicare/Medicaid for everyone. Congress needs to understand that if they won’t give us single payer health care, then they had better simply do bipartisan work to fix ACA. Get the premiums and deductibles down, and don’t cut any more people from coverage.
Their proposed health care plan will return US back to the “good old days”. Next up, surgery without anesthesia or sterilized instruments. And while you’re at it, why not get rid of all regulations on doctors so anyone can DON a white surgical gown and cut us open? It’s kinda like voting for a person who’s never held political office before for president… and how’s that working out?