Repeal and do what exactly?

Republican Senators Alexander, Johanns, Hoeven and Risch –all of whom have been state governors– unleash an attack on ObamaCare from the perspective of state budgets and argue that the law should be repealed (assuming it’s not declared unconstitutional of course). In ObamaCare Will Punish State Budgets on the WSJ Op-Ed pager, they savor a quote from former TN Democratic governor Phil Bredsen, who apparently referred to ObamaCare as “the mother of all unfunded mandates.”

“Astonishingly, more than half of ObamaCare’s newly promised health insurance coverage was accomplished by assigning nearly 26 million more people to an already broken Medicaid program and telling governors, ‘Now, you find a way to help pay for it.'”

Actually the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion from 2014 through 2016 and 90 percent of the cost thereafter. Is that what you inferred from the prior paragraph? I didn’t think so.

It’s true that states are likely to incur some costs as a result of Medicaid expansion, but there are also offsetting savings. Supporters of health reform would also argue that there’s value in getting tens of million uninsured people into coverage.  The impact on states is a complex topic, which deserves serious analysis. If you’re interested, you may want to check out the Kaiser Family Foundation’s analysis.

The Senators are eager to pick on details of ObamaCare such as provisions impacting college students. But when it comes to their own plan they are laughably vague. Here’s the totality of what they propose:

“We and our Republican colleagues voted against the law two years ago and will continue to work toward a smarter, step-by-step solution that will make health care available to more Americans at a lower cost to the federal government, the states, and individuals seeking care.”

Sorry, Senators, but after two years of touting “repeal and replace” you’ve still got nothing to say about the “replace” part. If and when you do come up with something serious, I’ll be willing to bet it will be at least as easy to criticize as your beloved ObamaCare.

March 30, 2012

5 thoughts on “Repeal and do what exactly?”

  1. Please visit Physicians for a National Health Program for vital information regarding a system that can address what’s truly and essentially a real solution to our US health care non-system dysfunction. Endless incremental and fragmented “fixes” that preserve our dependence on the insurance model are destined for failure. Learn from other advanced and high performing democracies; create a national, single payer “Medicare for all” system, everybody in, nobody out.

  2. The Republicans should be talking about their successes with the ACA. They repealed the 1099 requirement and CLASS has been removed.

    I would like to see a comparison of the unfounded portion of ACA, which rests upon the states, and the total expenditure for the completely unfunded Part D Prescription Drug Plan passed under their illustrious conservative leader President Bush. Because, as we know, the ACA is structured to pay for itself.

  3. The solution to our nation’s shameful health insurance system isn’t mysterious. It’s only threatening to insurance industry profits. Recently I sent the following e-mail to all 100 members of the Senate and a number of media outlets. What is your opinion of my suggestion?

    “Capitalism displays its greatest benefit to society when the consumer knows enough about the product to make an informed choice, is able to compare a wide variety of competing products and suppliers, and is not penalized or intimidated for switching from one supplier to another. Unfortunately, none of these conditions exist for consumers of the American healthcare system. The average American knows little about medicine and virtually nothing about the impenetrable black art of insurance.
    I’d like to propose a solution.
    The benefits of our capitalist system can be preserved by continuing to allow hospitals and physicians in private practice to operate as profit seeking businesses. Unlike patients, physicians possess the knowledge to make educated choices when purchasing everything from bandages to hospital beds. Medical manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies would be forced to maintain quality by the need to impress medical professionals who can choose to shop elsewhere.
    Health insurance is an entirely different problem. Under a capitalist system health insurance companies have an enormous profit incentive to write policies in a manner that makes it impossible for the majority of Americans to comprehend what they’re purchasing. By the time an individual policy holder realizes he’s been fooled into buying a forest of loopholes, it’s too late to correct the problem by switching to another insurance provider. The same profit incentive exists when deciding whether or not to pay the policy holder’s claims. There’s an impressive amount of money to be saved by denying legitimate but expensive claims in the hope that the patient will die before legal proceedings can settle the dispute. Dead Americans are often very good for the bottom line.
    Our current health insurance system leaves little doubt that human life is cheap and human suffering is just a personal problem for American citizens who simply do not matter. When terrorists display their contempt for ordinary decency there’s never a shortage of politicians willing to loudly condemn their behavior and crow about the moral superiority of America. When a health insurance company displays an equivalent level of moral depravity, no one inside the beltway utters a word of criticism. Perhaps if terrorist groups employed better lobbyists and donated more generously to reelection campaigns, they could operate with impunity as well.
    A single payer health insurance system would eliminate the problem of policy holder ignorance, eliminate the economic incentive to deny healthcare at the very moment the patient needs it most, provide access to healthcare to every American citizen without the fear of being denied or driven into bankruptcy, and bring American society a step closer to putting its money where its mouth is by placing value on the lives of its own citizens.”

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