The GOP on health care: Maybe they should quit while they’re behind?


July 18, 2017

Pop quiz:
Question: What’s worse than the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017, which passed the House on a 217-213 vote?

Answer: The Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) of 2017.

Question: What’s worse than the BCRA?

Answer: The second version of the BCRA, which included “the Cruz amendment.”  This amendment would have allowed insurance companies, in some instances, to sell plans that would not cover people with pre-existing conditions and would offer flimsy coverage and in some cases no coverage at all.  Some call this “fake insurance.”

Question: What’s worse than the second version of the BCRA?

Answer: The idea now being floated that the Senate would vote for straight-up repeal of the Affordable Care Act with something-or-other to replace it later.

Why is this worse?  Seriously?  After demonstrating that they cannot come up with a plausible replacement, we should take it on faith that they will come up with a mystery plan later?  Please, let’s not volunteer to teeter on that ledge.  Back in January, the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis of what would happen if Congress enacted a straight-up repeal of the ACA with no replacement.  The CBO’s main two findings:

The number of people who are uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first new year following enactment of repeal.  Later, after the elimination of the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility and of subsidies for insurance purchased through the ACA marketplaces, that number would increase to 27 million, and then to 32 million in 2026.

Premiums in the nongroup market (for individual policies purchased through the marketplaces or directly from insurers) would increase by 20 percent to 25 percent – relative to projections under current law – in the first new plan following enactment.  The increase would reach about 50 percent in the year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and the marketplace subsidies, and premiums would about double by 2026.

32 million uninsured.  And almost a 50 percent increase in premiums for many Americans.

You see where we’re going with this pop quiz.  It seems as if every idea advanced by the GOP on health care is, incredibly and unbelievably, worse than the idea that preceded it.

Maybe they should just quit while they’re behind?


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