The Democrats succeeded in their main objective-- passing a healthcare entitlement. They knew full well that once an entitlement was passed, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of it. Much to the chagrin of Conservatives, it seems Americans are now stuck with a version of government-driven healthcare. The main purpose of healthcare in our country will now be to reform it with every incoming administration.
Welcome to the new normal.
House Republicans introduced their version of healthcare reform called The American Health Care Act (AHCA). President Trump and Vice President Pence have given it their seal of approval, and HHS Secretary Tom Price called it a “good first step.” Despite the endorsements, RINOcare remains unpopular with Republicans for falling short on promises.
The Republicans have let us down once again. The “good first step” was supposed to be repealing Obamacare in full. That’s what almost every Republican had campaigned on since the Tea Party surge back in 2010. The GOP has had years to develop a free market alternative as they promised, but, they failed. The AHCA doesn’t repeal the ACA in full. The proposed legislation doubles down on a lot of Obamacare’s concepts, just in a slightly more Republican fashion. Hence the nickname RINOcare.
Speaker Paul Ryan has promised that this is the first phase and that the popular aspects pledged in earnest during campaign season, such as removing state lines to purchase insurance, would be coming in two more phases. Ryan claims that due to “Reconciliation” rules in the Senate, this is the only way to rid America of Obamacare.
Phase One of the legislation appears to be a watered-down version of Obamacare:
TAXES: The ACHA gets rid of Obamacare’s many ill-conceived taxes such as the medical-device tax and the investment surtax. The Cadillac tax is put off until 2025.
MEDICAID: Medicaid expansion would be phased out over several years, but, states could still opt into it in the meantime. The way the bill block grants Medicaid back to the states encourages more enrollment, not less.
INSURANCE COMPANY POWER: While AHCA does end the individual mandate, it replaces it with a new penalty allowing insurance companies to levy a 30% surcharge on people whose coverage has lapsed 63 days or longer. Taking away government power and giving it to corporations is not an improvement.
TAX CREDITS: The GOP plan ends federal subsidies, but replaces them with tax credits for individuals without coverage provided by employers. “Subsidies” or “credits--” it’s the same “present” wrapped in elephant wrapping paper instead of donkey paper.
The tea party activist group FreedomWorks condemned the bill as “Obamacare-lite” and reiterated its support for a replacement bill introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and backed by the House Freedom Caucus. “[The ACHA] creates a new entitlement through the refundable tax credits,” FreedomWorks policy analyst Jason Pye said in a statement.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a full repeal of Obamacare without a replacement would result in fewer people losing coverage than the AHCA. President Trump has promised to work with members of Congress to negotiate and compromise on aspects of this bill.
One thing we know for certain is that the majority Republicans lack the courage to do a full repeal and take their time crafting a more suitable solution. Like it or not, government-centered healthcare is here to stay.
President Trump is set to hold a rally at 7:30 pm EST tonight in Nashville, Tennessee. It is expected that he will address the Healthcare bill. Check Lanterns.Buzz for analysis of the President’s speech later tonight.