My former party does not know much about healthcare

The Graham-Cassidy Bill seems to be on its last legs, but these bills are like Jason – just when you think you kill the serial killer, he remains alive. This latest effort may be the worst bill by my former party, which I left in 2006. It is apparent to me that Republican leaders don’t know much about healthcare and don’t care to know or take the time to know. That includes the man in the White House who just wants to sign something that negates something Obama did. “Who knew healthcare could be so complicated?” he asked earlier in the year. The answer “Everyone, but you.”

Every bill either put forth by the Senate this year or passed by the House has been scored poorly by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), has been not appreciated in polls and has been denigrated by medical and hospital associations. Not involving women, Democrats, experts and due process in the planning revealed a haphazard approach to legislation.The Graham-Cassidy Bill is the worst of the bunch as it places the burden, and eventually all of the financing, on the states. In a nutshell, the bill says we cannot figure this out, so we are punting it to you.

In addition to the tens of millions of Americans negatively affected by these bills, if passed, the authors make a concerted effort to kick people in poverty and near-poverty in the teeth. Since we have a poverty problem in America, these bills are especially cold-hearted. And, Graham-Cassidy gives states the right to do away with pre-existing conditions, which was incorrectly refuted by Cassidy after being called on the carpet by Jimmy Kimmel. Seeing protestors in wheel chairs at the Senate was telling.

Further, I have shared with Senators, Congressional Representatives and the White House, these bills would be dilutive to the economy. Standard & Poor said yesterday in their global report the Graham-Cassidy would harm the American economy by $240 Billion through 2027 and cause 580,000 job losses. In a nutshell, when people in need no longer have insurance, the trade-off becomes between food/ rent and medicine. So, less is spent in the market place which dilutes the economy.

Yet, let me emphasize one thing that has been raised by more than a few state Medicaid Directors and Governors. Building a new healthcare delivery system will take longer than the time given. In my view, it will take longer than even these folks are thinking about. In business and government, leaders tend to vastly underestimate the complexity to set-up administration of things. As President Obama found out, setting up healthcare exchanges was hard and initially failed to deliver.

This is an important observation about the Affordable Care Act. It is in place. It is not in a death spiral and it is not broken. From the lens of fewer uninsured, it has been successful. Yet, it needs improvements, but first it needs to be stabilized. Part of the reason for the latter is the GOP’s efforts to hamstring its success by defunding subsidies for adverse selection to insurers. Coupled with slow funding of other subsidies, nineteen states who did not expand Medicaid and general naysaying, the law has not been given full opportunity to be successful.

So, this retired benefits actuary, consultant and manager recommends the ACA be stabilized under some version of the bipartisan Alexander/ Murray Bill. Then all members of Congress can spend more detailed and thoughtful time in deciding how healthcare can be delivered going forward. My recommendation is they improve the ACA.

14 thoughts on “My former party does not know much about healthcare

    • Janis, that would be the logical and needed path forward. My hope is it will start with the Alexander/ Murray Bill on the Senate, but Paul Ryan will have to decide if his allegiance to America is more important than his allegiance to the GOP. His predecessor, John Boehner only passed significant legislation by ignoring the Freedom Caucus of overly zealous legislators. Keith

  1. Note to Readers: Now that the GOP pulled the Graham-Cassidy Bill, they need to move forward with stabilizing the ACA. Senator Orrin Hatch would disagree saying “I personally think it is time for the American people to see what Democrats have done to them on healthcare. They’re going to find they can’t pay for it, they’re going to find it doesn’t work…”

    Senator Hatch, let me summarize your words – you want Americans to suffer. You want them to pay higher premiums and have fewer choices, so that they will blame the Democrats.

    Senator Hatch, the GOP owns the ACA now, by not only choosing not to improve it as would happen with other big change, but the GOP made premiums go up even more than they would have been. You and your party screwed Americans to win an argument. That is poor stewardship and borders on malfeasance.

  2. Dear Keith,
    Senator Orin Hatch is reflecting the thinking of a large number of his fellow republican legislators, let the American peoples “eat cake,” and the heck with the millions who will suffer. After all some republicans think poor folks are parasites with their hands out taking advantage to get by. These Washington DC elite’s could NEVER picture them working 2-3 jobs and still struggling to make ends meet.

    There is this Ayn Rand type of philosophy that Paul Ryan likes to quote.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, the dilemma with that thinking, in addition to it being off base, does not reflect that there are more white people in poverty. Much of Trump’s base came from these situations, but they failed to realize the GOP has rarely looked out for their economic interests, nor will Trump.

      As for healthcare, we need to continue to reach out to Senators to make a move on stabilizing the ACA. I left a message for my two senators, Hatch, Schumer and Warren. Keith

  3. You are quite right … ACA is neither failing nor broken. It needs tweaking, and to do so would be far less devastating than to start fresh with a “plan” that is really no plan at all except to stroke Trump’s ego by attempting to diminish Obama’s work. It is thus: Trump says it is broken. We say it is not. So, he breaks it and then says, “See, I told you it was broken”. Meanwhile, the people who rely on ACA to stay alive are the ones who lose, the ones who pay the price for the lunacy.

    • Jill, that probably annoys me the most. Trump, Hatch, Rubio, et al have done some heavy lifting to make it harder on the ACA. Saying it plainly, they have screwed Americans to try and win an argument. I wish the American people could be convinced of this fact. Keith

      • Me too, my friend. I keep wondering what it takes for them to finally see the light. Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post today predicts that there is nothing that will convince his base that he is not operating in their best interest. Perhaps she is right. Colour me confused … and frustrated.

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