Do our priorities expose moral flaws?

The GOP is busy trying to repeal and replace Obamacare. They’ve proposed the American Health Care Act as a means to that end. To be honest, I can’t seem to find the bill online anywhere, but the CBO has released its estimates of the impact (the CBO says it combines legislation, but it doesn’t say what legislation it combines). As an aside, in my search for the bill on congress.gov turned up H.R.277 (American Health Care Reform Act) that has collected 29 cosponsors), but also turned up H.R.1275, which has a much better name: “World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan.” I’m quite sure it’s not, but it’s still a great name.

I am not going to get into details about the CBO score, but the summary is that the plan will save Americans $337 billion over 10 years, at the cost of increasing the number of uninsured by 24 million. The CBO says that 14 million people will become uninsured by 2018, mostly because they will opt out of coverage after the mandate is repealed. People speaking in support of the plan have said that it will maintain coverage for pre-existing conditions for people who maintain continuous coverage, so it looks like these 14 million will lose that benefit of the ACA. By the end of the ten year estimate, the CBO says a total of 24 million more Americans will be without insurance, bringing the total uninsured to 52 million Americans. The impact of this could be devastating to those Americans, and we will watch them suffer, all to save some money. I think that’s a moral failure.

Continue reading “Do our priorities expose moral flaws?”

Repeal, and replace with what?

Folks on the right often complain about government handouts, and accuse liberals of wanting something for nothing. It often, however, seems to be exactly the opposite, especially when it comes to discussions about Obamacare. And so much of the hatred about Obamacare concerns things that were just as bad, if not worse, before it.
Drew Altman, in a Times Op-Ed looks at sentiment in Trump voters about Obamacare repeal.
“If these Trump voters could write a health plan, it would, many said, focus on keeping their out-of-pocket costs low, control drug prices and improve access to cheaper drugs. It would also address consumer issues many had complained about loudly, including eliminating surprise medical bills for out-of-network care, assuring the adequacy of provider networks and making their insurance much more understandable.”
So, basically, they want it to do MORE than it does, not less? Isn’t that what democrats were pushing for, but scaled back as an attempt to compromise with republicans? Isn’t the republican philosophy to let the free market take care of it, not to mandate lower prices, regulate out-of-network care?
I’m continually baffled by how people make their decisions, and how comfortable people seem to be with their strong opinions, when there’s a clear lack of understanding serving as a basis of those opinions.
An old friend who I’ve kept in touch with almost entirely through FaceBook voted for Trump (or at least supported him in discussions on FaceBook before the election). In the run-up to the election, he said that all he wanted was lower taxes and affordable health care. This pained me. I don’t know his annual income, but I know his job and what he does, and I suspect that he doesn’t have income in any of the tax brackets that are targeted for reduction in any of the tax plans put forward by Trump or any of the republicans. But, more to the point here, what does he expect from a repeal of Obamacare? Maybe he expects to be able to buy a cheap plan again, without any requirements for minimum standards of coverage, like those that came with the ACA. Maybe he’s OK with a plan that won’t actually cover him if he gets sick, but makes him feel covered because it has low co-pays for routine stuff, and low premiums. Maybe he wants that, but of course that leaves the rest of us covering his bill if he gets sick and needs help that his insurance won’t provide, or leaves him broke and sick.
Of course there are things wrong with the ACA, and of course I’d like to see them fixed, but much like what I wrote earlier about government failures, the answer doesn’t seem to do less, it seems like the fix involves doing more. That means not repealing, but strengthening. Of course, that’s not what any of the GOP plans look like, but we’ll have to wait and see what we get.
The GOP needs to be very careful here, or they might end up shooting themselves in the foot, without a good insurance plan to cover the treatment.