Friday, December 02, 2016

GOP Is Preparing A January Bill To Destroy Obamacare

 (All of the charts on this page are from the Kaiser Family Foundation.)

The Hill is reporting that congressional Republicans are already preparing a bill to do away with Obamacare. They want to have the bill, which will be passed in early January, ready for Trump's signature on Inauguration Day.

They know they can't outright repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The Senate Democrats would filibuster that to death. So, their plan is to defund Obamacare through a Budget Reconciliation Act (which cannot be filibustered, and can be passed in the Senate on a simple majority vote). Without any money, Obamacare would be effectively dead.

Republicans are scared though. They know that doing away with Obamacare will take health insurance away from more than 20 million people, and that could be catastrophic at the next election. To take care of that, their bill will delay the defunding for 18 to 36 months -- in the vain hope that in that time someone on the GOP side will come up with a plan that will help that 20 million keep insurance.

There's no much real hope of that happening though. They have floated various ideas, and none of them would save insurance for those who got coverage under Obamacare (and none would cut the cost of insurance or medical care). They seem to be living in a fantasy world. You can't take health insurance away and save it at the same time -- not without coming up with either a plan very similar to Obamacare or creating a single-payer plan (both of which they say they will not do).

The Republicans seem to think that most Americans hate Obamacare, and want to see it go away. But while a plurality say they view Obamacare unfavorable -- about 45% compared to 43% who view it favorably (see top chart) -- that does not mean they want Obamacare to die.

When the Kaiser Family Foundation asked what should be done with Obamacare, they got the following results -- 19% said to move forward with the law as it is, 30% wanted to expand it, and 17% wanted to keep it and scale it back. Only a tiny 26% wanted it repealed (see the top chart below).

What is it that people don't like about Obamacare. That is answered in the bottom chart below. It seems that the general public, Democrats, and Independents like everything about Obamacare except the individual mandate (the requirement that everyone have insurance or pay a penalty). Republicans liked everything except the individual mandate and the employer mandate.

That's right, all four groups liked everything else about Obamacare -- including providing subsidies to help people buy health insurance and giving states the right to expand Medicaid. It is just the individual mandate that is disliked. Obviously the public has been misinformed. They don't understand that the mandate applies to only a tiny minority, and without everyone having insurance the premiums for insurance would go sky-high (because insurers cannot just insure sick people).

While Obamacare is a big improvement over what we had before it was passed, it is far from perfect. It needs to be amended to cover all citizens and to control health care and health insurance costs. But killing Obamacare off will not solve those problems, especially since the GOP has no plan to address those issues.

It now looks like the Republicans will quickly kill Obamacare now that they control the government, but I think they are making a huge mistake -- and that mistake is going to rebound and bite them on the ass.

The Kaiser Health Tracking Poll was done between November 15th and 21st of a random national sample of 1,202 adults, and has a margin of error of 3 points.

1 comment:

  1. Of course the GOP can’t come up with alternative plan - Obamacare is their plan in the first place. I’ve never seen a group of people so intellectually dishonest in all my life. I would love to see our national leaders call them out for the hypocritical lying bastards they are. Until the left grows a spine we have years and years of rot ahead of us.


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