The Republicans have released their much anticipated and ballyhooed Obamacare "repeal and replace" plan, and, as feared, it is almost all "repeal" with damned little in the way of "replace." The GOP, being the party of greed and avarice, has crafted a bill which basically tells America's poor to just crawl off somewhere and die.
The plan keeps in place two of the extremely popular provisions of Obamacare - allowing people with pre-existing conditions to buy insurance and letting people keep their adult children on their insurance plans until those young adults reach the age of twenty-six. Beyond that, however, it completely eviscerates the system currently in place. Now individuals who don't have insurance through their employment will have to buy it on the open market at whatever the "competitive" rate is, and then save their receipts so that they can get a tax credit of two-to-four thousand dollars at the end of the year - an amount that is unlikely to cover the cost of most insurance policies.
Who among us really believe that insurance companies "compete" with one another on their rates?
National Public Radio (NPR) has had two Republican congressmen on its morning program over the past two days to give their takes on the new plan. Congressman Dave Brat of Virginia, the man who ended the political career of Eric Cantor, is opposed to the new plan because he sees it as a continuing government entitlement. He wanted a complete repeal with no efforts at replacement. He is also opposed to the federal government funding Medicaid expansion, saying that if the states want an expanded Medicaid they should fund it themselves. In his blistering tirade, which was at times little more that loud gibberish, Congressman Brat also managed to air his belief that both Medicare and Social Security are insolvent. Any guesses as to what he will be focusing on in the future?
Congressman Buddy Carter of Georgia also spoke with NPR. Unlike Brat, he did not get loud and talk in circles, but he did extol the virtues of a "free market" system of insurance saying that it would better serve customers in the end. The problems with that are: 1. insurance companies have never been models of competitiveness and thus torpedo the notion of a "free" market, 2. many individuals cannot afford to shop based on the lure of future tax credits, and 3. tax credits of only two-to-four thousand dollars are unlikely to cover the cost of adequate insurance.
Neither congressman was asked about the impact that the elimination of Obamacare would have on struggling hospitals as people once again begin lining up to be treated in emergency rooms - and in particular the impact that repealing Obamacare will have on rural hospitals where much of their customer base is funded by government subsidized programs.
And . . .
Neither congressman was asked if he would be willing to give up his own government-funded healthcare in return for a tax credit.
And therein lies the rub.
Do unto others, congressmen, as you would have others do unto you.