Thursday, September 28, 2017 by JD Heyes
In all my years of covering health care policy, I cannot remember a more stellar example of voter betrayal than the GOP establishment’s flat-out refusal to deliver on the Republican Party promise to repeal and replace the disaster that is Obamacare.
For seven years party elders and GOP rank-and-file promised that when they were given enough control over the lawmaking apparatus — Congress and the White House — they would waste no time in overturning the worst piece of healthcare legislation in perhaps the history of the country.
But when voters unexpectedly delivered Republicans the Oval Office via the election of Donald J. Trump, GOP establishment types must have really started to sweat because it’s become obvious they never had any intention of scrapping Obamacare.
The most recent effort, led by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, wasn’t a perfect solution but it was much better than doing nothing: The bill called for sending tax dollars earmarked for healthcare in block grants to states for locally elected legislators and governors who are much closer to voters to decide how best to spend the money. It’s classic federalism, and that’s a principle the Grand Ol’ Party used to believe in.
What’s more, the bill would have eliminated three of the most-hated provisions in the Affordable Care Act: The employer health insurance mandate; the individual mandate to buy insurance; and the tax on medical equipment.
Many other aspects of Obamacare would remain, and mind you, eventually, it all needs to go. But in Congress you pick your battles carefully and advance your agenda in stages; the Graham-Cassidy bill was a major step in the right direction. (Related: GOP’s latest effort to dismantle Obamacare is once again thwarted by #NeverTrumper John McCain (and a few other RINOs.)
But because a handful of Republican liars who once universally opposed Obamacare and in the past have voted to repeal it refuse to do so today, when they could actually make good on their previous pledges to do so, the law stands as is. Their betrayal leaves the tens of millions of Americans who voted for them on the promise they would repeal O-care stuck with lousy, expensive “health insurance” that is basically “coverage” in name only. For many, that means making monthly premium payments that amount to a second mortgage; for others, it means coverage that comes with hefty deductibles in the thousands of dollars.
There are other reasons to be outraged by the GOP’s most recent failure to dismantle Obamacare. For one, the Congressional Budget Office noted that had Graham-Cassidy passed, it would have shaved tens of billions of dollars off the national debt.
As reported by the Washington Free Beacon:
The Graham-Cassidy bill, the GOP’s current replacement to the Affordable Care Act, is estimated to reduce the deficit by $133 billion from 2017 to 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s scoring of the legislation.
The legislation’s projected savings are a result of a reduction in Medicaid spending, the elimination of subsidies, and funding for block grants.
In addition, according to one state Medicaid analyst, the block grants and state management elements of the measure would have led to a stabilization of insurance markets, meaning lower premiums and deductibles, which are both now stuck on an upward trajectory thanks to Obamacare mandates.
In a separate story, the Free Beacon quoted Dennis Smith, senior adviser for Medicaid and health care reform for the Arkansas Department of Human Services, who told the Senate Finance Committee this week the Graham-Cassidy bill would provide eventual market stabilization because it combines elderly and non-elderly populations in a Medicaid coverage pool, about 22 million of whom are relatively young and healthy — and thus, not a drain on the system.
“Combining funding for these two groups into state block grants is consistent with the basic concepts of insurance pools,” he said. “Adding younger, healthier lives and spreading the risk among a larger pool of people will help stabilize premiums for everyone in the individual market, both those who are subsidized and those who are not.”
But now we’ll never know because there are too many Obamacare repeal liars within the ranks of the GOP.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.