Friday, April 21, 2017

Strange Bedfellows at the Washington Post

It's a weird day when Eugene Robinson and Jen Rubin seem to have worked together to produce columns.

Ladies first:

The GOP 2.0 version of the American Health Care Act has about as much appeal as the original AHCA, or maybe less. It’s still a big tax cut for the rich, a hit to pocketbooks of older and more rural voters, and less generous than what recipients had received under Obamacare. Would a moderate in a district Hillary Clinton carried overwhelmingly go for this? It’d be a high-risk proposition. Would a conservative who sees more regulation (the essential benefits) going back into the deal be thrilled? Probably not. Moreover, it’s clear the Senate would reject the bill, because moderates previously said they’d refuse to go along with a Medicaid rollback.

The list of people who would not like it is long: right-wing activists; Republicans in swing districts; every Democrat; Karen Handel (the GOP candidate in the Georgia 6th Congressional District runoff election), who’d have to take a position on a cruddy bill; doctors; hospitals; and the AARP.

That's the short list, I guess. Add to it the 20 million that are insured as a result of ACA. 

Robinson covers the new and unimproved health care bill so well:

Having failed miserably to win passage of an abomination of a bill -- the American Health Care Act -- Ryan and his minions are back with something even worse. A draft framework being circulated this week would pretend to keep the parts of Obamacare that people like, but allow the states to take these benefits away.

Republicans don’t talk much about the practical reason for moving urgently on health care, which is to set the stage for so-called tax reform: They want to take money now used to subsidize health care for low-income Americans and give it to the wealthy in the form of big tax cuts. 

Nominally, the “MacArthur Amendment” would retain the Essential Health Benefits standard imposed by the ACA, which requires insurance policies to cover eventualities such as hospitalization, maternity and emergency care -- basically, all the things you’d ever need health insurance for.

The amendment would also appear to maintain the ACA’s guarantees that everyone can buy health insurance, including those who have pre-existing conditions, and that parents can keep adult children on their policies until age 26. That all looks fine -- but it’s an illusion.

After specifying that these popular provisions will stay, the amendment then gives states the right to snatch them away. States would be able to obtain waivers exempting them from the Essential Health Benefits standards. They would also be able to obtain waivers from the pre-existing conditions requirement by creating a “high-risk pool” to provide coverage for those who are unwell.

There would no longer be a prohibition, however, against charging “high-risk” individuals more -- so much more, in fact, that they would potentially be priced out of the market. We would go back to the pre-ACA situation in which serious illness could mean losing a home or filing for bankruptcy.

Paul Ryan and Tom MacArthur are bigger scam artists than Trump himself.

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