I think I finally get it. Conservatives are all about conserving stuff, so that means in the American political charade, Conservatives are all about conserving what Democrats put in place last go-round.
At least, that’s what I take from reading the specs on this American Healthcare Act, allegedly designed to repeal and replace Obamacare. Well, I guess it’s technically correct if what they meant is, repeal Obamacare and replace it with Obamacare.
Make no mistake, this is Obamacare lite, and Paul Ryan is Nancy Pelosi lite, bragging, “We kept our promise.”
Probably the worst provision in the new bill is the sleight of hand move that erases the tax penalties for not having insurance. Yay! you say. But the bill turns right around and gives the same power to the insurance companies—to raise your premiums by 30 percent. So, it removes the penalty from under one shell and places it under another: but it’s still there. They can brag that they got rid of “the mandate,” but the stick is still there.
Now, think about it: this is one of the unpopular features of Obamacare. If they’re essentially finding a way to keep that while hiding it, they are quite open about keeping the “popular” provisions: the pass for preexisting conditions, the ban on lifetime coverage caps, and that “children” can stay on their parents’ plan until they’re twenty-six years old. All of these things costs taxpayers dearly.
Likewise, the once-dreaded Obamacare “exchanges” will stay. Then more sleight of hand: while pretending to do away with Obamacare “subsidies,” the bill provides a whopping $100 billion over ten years for States to use in any of a few creative ways to bail out patients or insurers in high-risk or burdened cases. There’s a word for that: subsidy.
With deceptive nonsense like this, it’s no wonder Jim Jordan (R-OH) ripped the bill as “Obamacare in a different form.”
He’s right, and he’s not the only one to notice. The left has, too. The far-left liberals over at Vox even make a bullet-point of it:
- The bill looks a lot more like Obamacare than previous drafts. A curious thing has happened to the Republican replacement plan as it has evolved through multiple drafts: it has begun to look more and more like Obamacare itself. . . .
With hundred-billion dollar subsidies, health care exchanges, and mandate-penalties under a different name, and liberals all-but cheering, there’s yet one more key indicator how poor this replacement is. By all accounts, the big test to come is how the Congressional Budget Office will score its cost for American taxpayers.
Think about that: the fact that the cost-factor is even remotely a question for a bill that is supposed to repeal the behemoth Obamacare is very telling. It should be a slam-dunk. Repeal it, and save $1.2 Trillion over ten years. How hard is that? How could any even substantial replacement bill come anywhere near that mark? Yet for the AHCA, it is a question. It is so much a question that liberals like Nancy Pelosi are using it as a point of criticism: we don’t know how much this replacement bill will cost taxpayers. Gasp!
Since when did such Democrats ever care about the cost of subsidies? Since Republicans were dumb enough to give them the ammunition, that’s when. But moreover, this problem just shows how close the replacement is to the original.
Everything about this bill speaks of one underlying phenomenon: establishment Republicans in moderate districts and states want to get reelected. If they took a stand on principle and supported a bill that “deprived millions of people of health care,” and beset millennials from mama’s insurance, they are absolutely terrified the left will get energized and have the leverage to defeat them in the next election.
But they’ve got a promise to keep. So, they’re taking their chances that their conservative constituencies are either naïve, not paying attention, or as compromised as they are. They stand behind the lectern boasting, “We kept our promise,” when they have done nothing anywhere near the sort. It is a lie, and conservative voters need to hold them accountable for it. They’re gambling that conservatives will give them a pass and reelect them once again anyway, holding their nose. Throw the social conservatives a bone with “Defund Planned Parenthood,” and it’s a cinch.
These compromisers are unlike the liberal lawmakers. Obama asked them point-blank to stand on their principle and take the fall, knowing their support for Obamacare would cost them reelection. And they did. We need more of the guys claiming to be on our side willing to sacrifice for our principles. We need more guys to mimic the Democrats’ sacrificial courage instead of their policies.
Now, granted, the Speaker’s propaganda page says this is a “stable transition to a patient-centered system” so “no one has the rug pulled out from under them.” I don’t buy it, but if this is true, the bill needs to be amended to include what the end-game is and exactly the steps to get there. End the exchanges over 5 years. End the penalties step-by-step over 5 years. End the subsidies over 5-years. If they won’t agree to include such provisions in a purported “transition” bill, they’re not serious about it. It is a “transition” to nowhere, and we’ll still have socialized health care.
Voters and conservative lawmakers need to fight hard against this. We need to thunder in town halls every bit as much as we did when Obamacare was the issue, only let our own guys hear it this time. For conservative lawmakers, if your establishment colleagues won’t at the very least amend the bill as just mentioned, then vote against it. The establishment guys are an embarrassment to conservatism. Refuse your consent. Don’t be part of the embarrassment.
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