Although it hardly qualifies as an example of unique insight on my part, in my last editorial I did pretty much call the new Republican/conservative strategy of excusing Donny Jr & company’s collusion by now saying that collusion is simply opposition research – it is certainly not a crime. Donny Sr added, predictably, “I’m sure most people would have taken that meeting.”
But regarding healthcare, Trumpcare (or Wealthcare) amounts to eliminating the taxes and subsidies, and paying for that by taking away virtually all coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act, and then replacing it with the opportunity to purchase junk insurance, which would only be an affordable (though basically worthless) option for the (currently) young and healthy.
It cannot possibly be anything other than that because the single, most important goal of the proposed legislation is to remove the taxes and subsidies of the Affordable Care Act … and those are the only current ways to finance the things provided in the Affordable Care Act.
It is now, more than ever, incumbent upon Democrats to hammer Republicans with a consistent, and coherent, vision for the American people that the crap about allowing Obamacare to fail on its own is just that – crap. Not only are Republicans not doing anything whatsoever to address fixing the issues with the Affordable Care Act, while retaining that which the vast majority of Americans believe is in fact working, they are actively doing things to sabotage it.
Fortunately, the whole “repeal only” thing does not appear to be going anywhere. One thing of which I was not previously aware, the “repeal only” legislation being proposed essentially only repeals the taxes on those making over $200,000 annually, and also removes the subsidies for the insurance companies. That is all Republicans can do with only a 51 vote margin in the Senate. To do more, they would need 60 votes.
Even if Republicans were able to pass a straight repeal, stuff like covering pre-existing conditions and allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance longer would be left intact and in effect. But without any way to finance those things, that would clearly cause insurers who stay in the markets to raise rates through the roof, or to cause other insurers just to leave the markets entirely – either of which would make the Affordable Care Act instantly unsustainable.
The other thing already being done, without the need to modify any existing law, is just to not renew funding that provides those subsidies to the insurance carriers. Apparently, those funds are something that have to be renewed each year – they are not automatic as long as the Affordable Care Act is in effect. Trump has not renewed them to this point and appears unlikely to do so.
Another thing that could, and likely will be done by Trump, is to fail to enforce the individual mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act. That also would likely doom our current system since having only sick people purchase insurance is also not sustainable for the insurance marketplace.
These things absolutely HAVE to be clearly articulated by the Democrats. The other thing Democrats need to do is to refer to the Affordable Care Act not so much by name, but to rather identify it by the provisions it makes – Medicare subsidies, pre-existing condition coverage, extended coverage for grown children, removing caps on lifetime catastrophic coverage.
Polls just are not asking the right questions. They often ask, in various ways, do you want Trumpcare or Obamacare? Anytime the “I could shoot someone in the street” crowd, and many others, hear “Obama”, they immediately say “Hell no”. But a lot of them love the new coverages that are provided – they just often don’t really understand that those coverages are being provided by the Affordable Care Act.
Many people in Kentucky, for example, say that they hate Obamacare but that they love their own Kynect healthcare option. It turns out that Kynect IS Obamacare – just named differently in Kentucky. Oh, by the way, Rand Paul is one of the Kentucky senators who dearly wants to just repeal Obamacare and thinks Trumpcare doesn’t go far enough. Are Kentucky voters even aware of the effect of what Rand Paul is proposing on their behalf? Someone should let them know that no more Obamacare means no more Kynect.
With a less than a 15% approval rating for Trumpcare nationwide, and I’m sure even less than that if people truly understand what repeal-only would mean, Republicans have obviously not been able to convince even a small portion of the population that their healthcare plans have any virtue.
But as I have stated in previous editorials, the goal should not be to try and change the minds of the Trump base. If they have not budged in their support by now, it just ain’t gonna happen. Rather, the message should be directed toward educating the other 60-65% who need to clearly understand what is happening with healthcare … and just as importantly, what is not happening.