Opinion: GOP health care plan was to have no plan at all

“Say ahhh.” (AP)

For the last eight years, Republicans have claimed to have a plan to improve health care.

If you didn’t like the deductibles under Obamacare, they told you that their plan would lower those deductibles. If you didn’t like rising premiums, their plan would lower those premiums. If you didn’t like the fact that Obamacare left 28 million uninsured (in part because states such as Georgia decided to leave them uninsured), their plan would fix that too. If rural hospitals were closing, if insurers were leaving certain markets because they were too small to be profitable, the Republican plan would fix it.

Yet no such plan existed. Even worse, Republicans had no intention of having such a plan. Their “plan” all along consisted of a single paramount concept: Slash government funding for health care as much as politically possible, then divert the money saved into tax cuts targeted at the wealthy.

In recent weeks, we have seen that singular concept take legislative form. The Republican Senate version, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act,” doesn’t offer anything remotely like better care. It proposes to take $1.1 trillion in federal money out of the health care system over the next decade, and it replaces it with … pretty much nothing. According to the Congressional Budget Office, that will leave an additional 22 million Americans with no insurance coverage whatsoever. “The increase would be disproportionately larger among older people with lower income — particularly people between 50 and 64 years old,” the CBO predicts. In Georgia alone, according to one expert analysis, 680,000 will lose coverage, a step likely to push rural hospitals over the brink into bankruptcy.

The theory, of course, is that the free enterprise system will take care of it. But nowhere on this planet does the free enterprise system “take care of it,” because while the market does a lot of things effectively, it is spectacularly ill suited for regulating access to health care.

A functioning market, whether the commodity is sugar, salt, steel or surgery, requires that you, the potential buyer, are able to compare prices and outcomes. It requires that buyer and seller have comparable degrees of knowledge about the goods or service being purchased. It requires that the buyer and the seller are equally motivated to reach a fair deal. It requires competition.

None of those conditions exists in health care.

When the doctor tells you that he can save your life, or the life of your child, spouse or parent, you’re not in a position to bargain about the price he’s going to charge you. When you’re wheeled into the emergency room after a car wreck, you can’t interview every specialist who walks into your room to make sure they’re “in network.” You can’t ask three different hospital groups to submit bids for your breast cancer treatment, nor can you accurately compare survival rates. If a pharmaceutical company wants to charge you $5,000 a month for the drug that will save your life, you pay it or you die.

But here’s where it really falls apart: The basic premise of the marketplace is that if you can’t afford it, you can’t have it. In this case, if you can’t afford health care, you don’t get health care. If we’re willing to do that — if we’re willing to accept the “collateral damage” of untreated illness and unnecessary death, if we treat health care as a luxury item available to some, rather than a right available to all — then the GOP approach can work, after a fashion.

The GOP has shown itself willing to do all that, and to accept that collateral damage. I’m not. I think the self-proclaimed richest, most prosperous nation in the history of mankind can do better than that.

Reader Comments 0

1580 comments
Robert1959
Robert1959

Today, Mitch McConnell’s argument to Republicans also concedes that the ACA exchanges do not have to continue struggling.  Lawmakers can act to prevent this. And it concedes that Republicans will not want that to happen and will feel pressure to do something about it (presumably because, as a recent Kaiser poll suggested, they risk taking the blame for it). McConnell is basically conceding that Republicans can’t just let the ACA implode, as Trump seems to believe.

This could have real consequences for the coming debate, should the GOP bill fail. The Trump administration is likely to continue trying to sabotage the exchanges if this happens, by employing, among others, tactics such as continually refusing to clarify whether it will renew cost-sharing reductions and generally sowing uncertainty over the ACA’s future. This is already having a real impact on the health of the exchanges. And so, we could soon see a battle over who is to blame for the ACA’s continued problems, and a jockeying for political advantage if bipartisan talks do start. In that context, Democrats can spotlight McConnell’s admissions in a helpful way.

Fan4500
Fan4500

It was like I was Ann Coulter going to Berkeley to speak.They wanted to quiet me.

LOL


P.S. Got to run some errands. I'll be back in a few hours.

:)

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

Who knew you would miss your frenemies that much.

elgrunir
elgrunir

This was clearly an attempt by the Lame Stream Media to discredit Donald Trump!

rimsky
rimsky

Some of us are morning bloggers.  It must have been a torcher.  LOLOL   Couldn't wait till the phone said 8:01.  Looks like CS don't answer the phone till 8:30 or so.

Fan4500
Fan4500

@rimsky I couldn't get on since 5pm yesterday, I could see your comments, just couldn't sign in and reply. It was torture. 

:)

elgrunir
elgrunir

I know, I know!

Kept banging on the window...

Fan4500
Fan4500

Was the Customer Service at least English speaking? I usually get a person that has trouble understanding me.
It could be my Southern drawl.

LOL

rimsky
rimsky

@Fan4500 LOLOL.  Yup.  It is the same for us yankees too.

gapeach101
gapeach101

I thought it was odd I could see the epaper, just not sign on here.

rimsky
rimsky

@gapeach101 I guess all of us faced the same problem.  Glad they got it fixed.

elgrunir
elgrunir

Svetlana proud of new joint Amettikan-Russian Internet!

rimsky
rimsky

Criticism of the staff in the electronic division of AJC.

Please communicate to the people who answer the phone to tell their customers what is wrong with the system

and 

not make the customer in wild goose chase like try 

another browser

or clear out cookies and history.


BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@rimsky  yeh horrible customer service...they can say the system is down and the team is working to resolve the issue

Fan4500
Fan4500

I've been thinking it was my computer. It kept saying something about invalid parameters or URL.

Fan4500
Fan4500

@elgrunir Well my computer is clean, I ran multiple scans, cleared temp folders and updated software, trying to fix it.

LOL

rimsky
rimsky

@Fan4500 @elgrunir The people answering the phone did not know anything in the beginning.  Later a fella told me the problem was at their end.

I keep the laptop clean anywhoo.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@Fan4500 @elgrunir

What did you say? All your posts only say this:

blog parameter error: Invalid Parameter: redirect_uri must be an HTTP(s) URL

elgrunir
elgrunir

SVETLANA apologize for delay.

New Russian Internet at your service!

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Svetlana tells me new healthcare bill is good. I think she's trying to kill me.

elgrunir
elgrunir

(Slowly scratching your forearm)

Why you leesten to Fake News?

Svetlana "take care" of you!

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

She does look good in the nurse outfit.

elgrunir
elgrunir

You no worry, Babushka.

Just seep nice Russian tea.

Maybe beeter for Amettikanski...

elgrunir
elgrunir

Remember nurse in Ferris Bueller?

Svetlana mahch pretty.

*wink*

I half cousin, name Polonium, who like to take care of you, too!

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Problems I guess. I was just able to get on. Not thru FAcebook.

Fan4500
Fan4500

@JeffreyEav Ok, yea, I went thru Facebook, signed off and came to AJC, now it let's me back on. Interesting.

elgrunir
elgrunir

This post has disappeared, too.

rimsky
rimsky

 Fox News host Sean Hannity holds himself and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) in extremely high regard.

During his show Monday night, Hannity had a discussion with Gingrich about how the duo has been covering the investigations and scandals of Donald Trump’s administration.

“I kinda feel in many ways we’ve been ― and you’ve been included in this and you’ve been an enormous help with great analysis ― we’ve almost been a sole voice here of sanity in the media,” Hannity said.

Get a load of these two idiots

Bawahahahahahaha

rimsky
rimsky

 As news broke Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would delay a vote on the Senate GOP health care bill, Fox News touted a report on former President Barack Obama’s “lavish” family vacations.

“Lap of Luxury,” read the lead headline on Fox News’ online site. “Obamas’ Lavish Globetrotting Vacations Raise Democrats’ Eyebrows.”

WEALTH ENVY

Bawahahahahahaha

rimsky
rimsky

 David Jolly, a former Republican member of Congress who campaigned against Obamacare, said he’s had a change of heart since losing his own health insurance this year.

Jolly, who represented Florida’s 13th Congressional District until he was unseated last fall, opened up about his personal health care struggles during a discussion of the GOP health care bill Monday on MSNBC.

“I lost my doctor, and I lost my plan in 2013, and I was angry about Obamacare, and I ran for Congress,” Jolly said. “But in 2017, as an unemployed person with a preexisting condition, I knew Obamacare was there as a safety net if my wife and I needed it.”

Serves him right.

Bawahahahahahaha

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Trump’s Campaign Manager Just Registered As A Foreign Agent

Paul Manafort, a professional lobbyist, was chief amongst them. Manafort served as Trump’s campaign manager for five months before it was revealed to the public that Manafort had illegally made millions of dollars working for Ukrainian President and traitorous Russian puppet Viktor Yanukovych, forcing him to step down.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Manafort is the second one to register as a foreign agent, Flynn was the first.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Yawn.

Both got fired.

KAC managed Trump's campaign to victory, the first woman to successfully manage a presidential campaign.

Why do you hate wimmins, or at least fail to acknowledge their significant accomplishments in politics?

YouLibs
YouLibs

@Philo_Farnsworth 

We're cooking the earth ...


PF: Yawn


We're tearing apart the most effective system of government that has ever existed because we want to stick it to the other side...


PF: Yawn


We're vandalizing our government in an attempt to stick it to the other side that is supposed to, by the design of our founding fathers, balance out the thinking of the other side and vice versa.


PF: Yawn


I'm thinking PF might be on "prescription" drugs.


Amirite, Philo?


You always seem so sleepy.