Well, it’s been a fun week in politics. Democrats are in a decidedly celebratory mood. Republicans, however, are all over the map. Some are furious that the Freedom Caucus stood in the way of “incremental progress”. Others (in my opinion, those of us that “get it”) are relieved that Ryan’s bill, which somehow managed to be even worse than Obamacare (quite an accomplishment) was declared DOA. Some that were happy to see the bill fail, are still trying to give Trump the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his support ( and let’s just admit it- bullying tactics) for Ryan’s boondoggle. Still others (raising my hand in this category also) aren’t cutting Trump any slack.
Here you have it- a Congressional week in pictures:
We’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare!
Ryan’s bill is offered…
Freedom Caucus Responds, Part one:
Freedom Caucus Responds, Part two:
RINO’s and Trump demand Congress back this bill or be stuck with Obamacare…
So, the Freedom Caucus Says:
But, why was the Freedom Caucus so stubborn? To understand that, you need to understand how Obamacare works.
One of the main goals of Obamacare was to ensure that individuals with pre-existing conditions would be covered by insurance. Of course, that sounds wonderful. But immediately you are faced with the question of how to force insurance companies to agree to take on customers that they already know they are going to lose big $$$ on.
There is only one answer- you must force the insurance companies to insure these people. But this demand creates another problem. If insurance companies are forced to cover those with pre-existing conditions, they’ll just charge a bazillion dollars for the policies. So, we’d still be in the same boat. These people would have “access” to coverage, but not the financial ability to purchase it.
To fix this problem, Obamacare included what is called the community rating system. The community rating system forces insurance companies to charge everyone basically the same price for insurance (with very little leeway).
Do you see what problem this causes? If insurance companies are forced to insure everyone for roughly the same price, pre-existing conditions or not, why would anyone bother to buy insurance at all until you need to use it?
This would inevitably lead to what is called the “death spiral”. Most people don’t purchase insurance until they need to use it, so premiums have to rise to astronomical levels for insurance companies to remain solvent. Eventually, all insurance companies would fail.
Enter Obamacare’s individual mandate which levies a hefty penalty tax to people who don’t purchase insurance. The plan was to avoid the death spiral by forcing people to join the insurance pool, which would theoretically keep premium prices at an acceptable level.
The problem is- it didn’t work. Even with the government literally forcing people (to the best of their ability) into the insurance pool- they still didn’t get enough healthy people “into the pool” to pick up the financial slack. Insurance companies are failing left and right. Huge amounts of people are experiencing premium increases so large and policies that are so worthless that they can no longer afford to be insured. As Nathan Keeble puts in in his article for fee.org, “…government interventions necessitate more and more interventions to fix the problems they create.”
As you can see, just the elementary aspects of the bill we have discussed are so intertwined that if you remove one element, the whole shebang falls apart. It’s like a really complicated clock with a million gears, that has always kept horrible time (but at least you still know maybe what day it is), however when you open it to see what’s wrong, all the tiny parts explode into a useless mess. You could try to have an expert fix it. But why bother since it was crap to begin with?
So, what did Ryan put on the table to fix this debacle? Well, Ryan’s bill kept the requirements for pre-existing conditions and community ratings, but did away with the features that were necessary to fund the boondoggle in the first place- the mandate. To offset this devastating loss of funds, he inserted the 30% mandatory penalty that individuals have to pay to purchase insurance if they have previously been uninsured for a long period of time.
Obviously, if the individual mandate was insufficient to fund Obamacare in the first place, this little penalty would be like trying to put out a fire by spitting on it.
But that didn’t keep Trump and the RINO’s from claiming that this was the “first step” in a progressive repeal processs. Give me a break! The only thing this bill would have accomplished is a still failing health care system- this time with a Republican stamp on it.
The most eye roll inducing thing I’ve seen since the bill’s failure, is Trump denying his campaign promises regarding the full repeal of Obamacare:
I’ve seen lots of theories from conservatives regarding why Trump would push this bill ranging from “he just really needs this resolved to move on to tax reform” all the way to “he was allowing Ryan to hang himself from his own noose.” Obviously, not getting all the saved $$$ from health care reform poses a real issue for his plans for tax reform. Of course, only time will tell. But in the meantime, Trump continues to vilify himself via Twitter:
The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!
5:23 AM – 24 Mar 2017
Don’t get me wrong, in my opinion, Trump was the only choice in this election and I’d vote for him again under the same circumstances. With that being said, I’m not cutting him any slack either.
Trump has guts, I’ll give him that, but I don’t know if any human being has the guts or the ability to do what actually needs to be done when it comes to health care because so many people are convinced that a completely “fair” system exists if only the selfish “over privileged” Americans would just step up and fund it. Of course, they list various foreign countries as proof that it can be done. But if these same individuals would take the time to research these countries to see what they do to make universal health care possible, they would realize that these countries pay a whole heck of a lot for that health care- it just comes in other forms. If you’d like to borrow my research on Denmark to get an idea what I’m talking about, you can check out my blog post, The US Could Learn a Thing or Two From Denmark.
Sadly, as has become the norm, most of these individual’s want all the “benefits” with none of the cost. The “something for nothing” generation.