ObamaCare Repeal Without Replacement All but Dead
by Michael Tennant
The brief glimmer of hope that ObamaCare would actually be repealed, not merely replaced with a Republican me-too version, has quickly been all but extinguished. Three GOP senators — Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito, and Maine’s Susan Collins — have already announced their opposition to passing a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without replacing it.
“I do not think that it’s constructive to repeal a law that is so interwoven within our health care system without having a replacement plan in place,” Collins said in a statement. “We can’t just hope that we will pass a replacement within the next two years. Repealing without a replacement would create great uncertainty for individuals who rely on the ACA and cause further turmoil in the insurance markets.”
Monday evening, after it became clear that the Republican leadership’s ObamaCare replacement bill would go down to defeat, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that the upper chamber would instead vote on “a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period.” The legislation, he said, would be based on a bill Congress sent in 2015 to President Barack Obama, who vetoed it. (Collins voted against that bill, too.)
By Tuesday afternoon, Murkowski, Capito, and Collins had all declared that they not only opposed the repeal bill but would vote against a motion to allow it to proceed to debate.
“My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians,” Capito said in a statement. “With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”
Murkowski, in a press release, detailed the many failures of ObamaCare in Alaska, including skyrocketing health-insurance premiums and deductibles and a loss of insurance carriers. But, she added, “Repealing the ACA without a clear path forward just creates confusion and greater uncertainty.”
“I cannot vote to proceed to repeal the ACA without reform that allows people the choice they want, the affordability they need and the quality of care they deserve,” she said.
It would be easy to dismiss the senators’ concerns as simply the result of their moderate-to-liberal views; their cumulative Freedom Index scores range from 40 percent (Collins) to 48 percent (Murkowski). Yet the Congressional Budget Office forecast that ObamaCare repeal would significantly increase both the number of uninsured and the premiums on individual-market policies (mostly because of the loss of subsidies), an estimate that, if accurate, should concern anyone.
None of this is to say that ObamaCare should remain the law of the land. The ACA has, as Murkowski pointed out, contributed mightily to rising premiums, and it still leaves millions of Americans uninsured while increasing government control of healthcare. Plus, it’s unconstitutional. Repeal would certainly be welcome.
However, economist Ryan McMaken observed in a piece for the American Conservative, “repeal-only proposals do little to actually address the problem of upward spiraling healthcare costs generated by government mandates and subsidies.”
“Thanks to more than 70 years of government meddling, the American healthcare system was already broken long before Obamacare came along,” he explained. “Because of this, returning to the status quo of eight years ago would hardly be a victory for freedom and free markets.”
“If GOP politicians really wanted to do something to improve access, reduce costs, and generally improve the lives of Americans, they’d quit with the grandiose repeal schemes,” he wrote. “They’d simply focus on passing reforms that open up healthcare markets to competition, and allow consumers to circumvent the subsidized and regulated healthcare system.”
McConnell appears determined to proceed with his repeal bill nonetheless. According to CNN, he “announced Tuesday night on the Senate floor that Republicans would hold a procedural vote on the health care bill ‘early next week.’”
But will the bill pass? “Asked by CNN what would need to change given that leadership currently lacks the 50 ‘yes’ votes from senators to pass even a procedural vote, Senate GOP whip John Cornyn responded: ‘A little passage of time.’”
With strategy like this, Republicans couldn’t beat a three-year-old at tiddlywinks.
Fact Check: It's a Lie That the GOP Healthcare Bill Abandons People With Pre-Existing Conditions
Posted: May 05, 2017 2:45 PM
As we described yesterday, there are some concerning policy elements of the House-passed American Health Care Act, which the Senate would be wise to explore and rectify over the coming weeks. The bill -- and that's all it is at this point: a work in progress -- repeals and alters significant portions of the Democratic Party's failing experiment in "affordability." But based on rhetoric from elected Democrats and the Left generally, one might assume that Obamacare was called the "Pre-existing Conditions Coverage Act" (side-stepping the whole "choice and affordability" fairy tale they peddled), and that the Republican bill obliterates those protections. The proposed law would be a "death warrant" for sick women and children, they shriek, casting Obamacare opponents as the moral equivalent of accessories to murder. This is demagogic, hyperbolic, inaccurate nonsense. To review the actual facts, even under an exceedingly unlikely scenario in which the Senate passed the House bill without making a single alteration, people with pre-existing conditions are offered several layers of protection:
Layer One: Insurers are required to sell plans to all comers, including those with pre-existing conditions. This is known as "guaranteed issue," and it's mandated in the AHCA. No exceptions, no waivers. I spoke with an informed conservative news consumer earlier who was stunned to learn that this was the case, having been subjected to 24 hours of unhinged rhetoric from the Left.
Layer Two: Anyone with a pre-existing condition and who lives in a state that does not seek an optional waiver from the AHCA's (and Obamacare's) "community rating" regulation cannot be charged more than other people for a new plan when they seek to purchase one -- which, as established above, insurers are also required to sell them.
Layer Three: Anyone who is insured and remains continuously insured cannot be dropped from their plan due to a pre-existing condition, and cannot be charged more after developing one. So if you've been covered, then you change jobs or want to switch plans, carriers must sell you the plan of your choice at the same price point as everyone else. Regardless of your health status. This is true of people in non-waiver and waiver states alike.
Layer Four: If you are uninsured and have a pre-existing condition and live in a state that pursued (and obtained after jumping through hoops) a "community rating" waiver, your state is required to give you access to a "high risk pool" fund to help you pay for higher premiums. The AHCA earmarks nearly $130 billion for these sorts of patient stability funds over ten years.It is simply a lie to say that the AHCA guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions. One can argue that perhaps $130 billion (not $8 billion, as some are dishonestly pretending) might at some point prove insufficient to covering the people described in layer four, but I think any such assessment is at best hypothetical and premature. Either way, it's a very different critique than the scare-mongering going around right now. Also, I'll repeat: The number of "uninsurable" Americans with pre-existing conditions within the individual market represents a tiny sliver of the overall population. Helping these people was one of the few credibly-popular selling points and actual achievements of Obamacare. But the existing law's track record on this front helps illustrate how limited the scope of that particular problem is:
Obamacare created a "bridge" program that allowed previously-uninsurable consumers with pre-existing conditions to get coverage in between the law's 2010 passage and full implementation a few years later. At its peak, it attracted less than 115,000 takers. Those people matter, and they were helped. But that statistic helps contextualize the problem, especially compared to Obamacare's overriding flaw: Unaffordability, leading to lack of participation, leading to unsustainable risk pools, leading to insurers pulling out and hiking premiums, leading to unaffordability, leading to further lack of participation, etc. As for the moral bullying about the AHCA supposedly leading to thousands of deaths (with these pronouncements coming from the very same people who lied incessantly and made spectacularly wrong predictions about Obamacare, by the way), consider this data-based evidence:
Public-health data from the Centers for Disease Control confirm what one might expect from a health-care reform that expanded Medicaid coverage for adults: no improvement. In fact, things have gotten worse. Age-adjusted death rates in the U.S. have consistently declined for decades, but in 2015 — unlike in 19 of the previous 20 years — they increased. For the first time since 1993, life expectancy fell. Had mortality continued to decline during ACA implementation in 2014 and 2015 at the same rate as during the 2000–13 period, 80,000 fewer Americans would have died in 2015 alone. Of course, correlation between ACA implementation and increased mortality does not prove causation. Researchers hypothesize that increases in obesity, diabetes, and substance abuse may be responsible. But thanks to the roughly half of states that refused the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, a good control group exists. Surely the states that expanded Medicaid should at least perform better in this environment of rising mortality? Nope. Mortality in 2015 rose more than 50 percent faster in the 26 states (and Washington, D.C.) that expanded Medicaid during 2014 than in the 24 states that did not.If conservatives wanted to turn liberals' demagoguery against them, they could cite these numbers to claim that Obamacare is killing tens of thousands of people -- especially in Medicaid expansion states -- and that Democrats have blood on their hands. Murderers! Let's not match their repugnant hackery. But we should make them aware of evidence that could build that deeply uncharitable and specious narrative. And speaking of Medicaid, I've seen a lot of hyperventilating about "deep cuts" to the program, which was already suffering poor health outcomes and restricted access before Obamacare's huge expansion of it. The AHCA does eventually transition to a major reform of the dysfunctional program, but it does so via a gradual tapering and eventual halt of Medicaid's expansion several years from now, with existing recipients (including new additions under the continued expansion) grandfathered in. May I repeat: There are flaws in the bill that need to be addressed. But the fact-challenged, emotional, manipulate meltdown on the Left is designed to scare people, not inform them. And it has the side effect of distracting from the spiraling betrayals of Obamacare, a program the Left put in place last time they were in charge. I'll leave you with this strong editorial from the Wall Street Journal:
TWO MORE INSURANCE COMPANIES DROP OUT OF FAILING OBAMACARE EXCHANGES
April 5, 2017 by Aaron Bandler
Two more insurance companies have announced that they will leave Obamacare’s failing exchanges.
On Monday, The New York Times reported that Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced their intention to leave Iowa’s Obamacare exchange next year because they lost $90 million in three years due to most of their enrollees having “expensive medical conditions.”
“Finding solutions to stabilize this market is in the best interest of all Iowans, including providers of health care and insurance carriers,” Wellmark Chairman and CEO John Forsyth said in a statement. “No one really benefits from rising costs. While there are many potential solutions, the timing and relative impact of those solutions is currently unclear. This makes it difficult to establish plans for 2018.”
Wellmark’s departure from Iowa’s Obamacare exchange will affect 21,400 people, but 1.64 million will still be able to receive insurance from Wellmark outside of the Obamacare exchanges.
Only two insurers remain in the Iowa exchange – Aetna and Medica – and it’s uncertain if both will choose to participate in the exchange next year. Medica is still mulling over its options while Aetna “has largely exited the market and declined to comment on its plans,” according to The New York Times.
Wellmark isn’t the only insurer to recently leave a failing Obamacare exchange.
On Friday, it was reported that Anthem Inc. is poised to leave most of the Obamacare exchanges, as they had lost $374 million last year. This is a significant development because, as Guy Benson pointed out at Townhall:
Thanks to Obamacare’s slow-motion implosion, just one single provider remains as a “choice” for consumers who live in roughly one-third of all US counties. In many of those places, Anthem has been that last holdout insurer, which is now reportedly about to end in 2018. Millions of Americans could be left with zero marketplace options, as the planned withdrawal of the last remaining US healthcare giant from most areas marks the latest sign that Obamacare is an unworkable actuarial nightmare.
Anthem and Wellmark will join Humana, Aetna and UnitedHealth as insurers who have fled Obamacare exchanges, reaffirming that the Obamacare death spiral is real and will only worsen from here.
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10535 Pages of ObamaCare condensed!
Nice summary by a Purdue engineer.
Here are the 10,535 pages of ObamaCare condensed to 4 sentences...
As humorous as this sounds.....every last word of it is absolutely TRUE!
1. In order to insure the uninsured, we first have to un-insure the insured.
2. Next, we require the newly uninsured to be re-insured.
3. To re-insure the newly uninsured, they are required to pay extra charges to be re-insured.
4. The extra charges are required so that the original insured, who became uninsured, and then became re-insured, can pay enough extra so that the original uninsured can be insured, which will be free of charge to them.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is called "redistribution of wealth" ... or, by its more common name, SOCIALISM.
:( :( :( :( :( SAD 4 SURE
Thank You Kent Lamberson