On Whose Side Is He?

Senator Rand Paul (R, KY) has said he will not vote for the latest Senate effort at beginning the repeal and replace process of Obamacare.  He claims he can’t tell the difference between this offer and the Obamacare that exists because, in part, it leaves some of the Obamacare taxes in place.

Never mind that a critical difference between the offer and Obamacare is that the offer does repeal some of the Obamacare taxes.

The Health Care Choice

The Wall Street Journal has the right of it, and it’s a stark one for the Republican Party and for us Americans.  The House and the Senate bills for getting rid of Obamacare and replacing it with something better are far from perfect, but they are significant improvements over the Obamacare assault on Americans’ access to health care, and on individual liberty and responsibility.  Further, the House plan has always been billed as the first part of a three-part effort at complete repeal and replacement; it’s never been claimed to be a final answer.  And the Senate bill on offer is not one, either.  Senate Republicans are well aware of this.

Medicaid-Receiving Companies Object to the Senate Bill

The Senate is proposing an overhaul of Obamacare and an improvement to the health coverage providing industry, and one of those improvements is a rollback of the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid and an eventual capping of Federal funds transfers to the States’ Medicaid programs.  There are objections to this.

The primary objections are from insurers and hospitals, et al., who get a significant fraction of their income from the guarantees of Medicaid payments; they don’t want to have to compete in the open market.  They prefer the supposed safety of that guaranteed income, paltry though it is, especially compared to the income available from a free market, and they don’t care what that “safety” costs those who must pay for it.

Obstructionism

…for the sake of obstructionism.  And now the Progressive-Democrats in the Senate are getting blatant about it.  They don’t want to help reform the health care coverage disaster of the last eight years, so to block Republican and Conservative efforts at reform, these Progressive-Democrats have decided to block everything in the Senate.  Here’s Senator Chris Murphy (D, CT) o the overall attitude:

What more could we do—hold Republican Senators by the arms to stop them from getting to the chamber?  I think we’ll use every tool at our disposal.

General Reform

25% of us don’t see doctors because that costs too much.

32% of older millennials (is there such a thing?  Gad) skip the doctor.  13% of Americans don’t have any health coverage plan at all—paying the penalty is more valuable to them.  Half of us don’t think we’ll have affordable health insurance much less Obamacare’s health coverage welfare.

This, together with today’s other post, just illustrates the fact that no single part of our economy—or of our Federal government—can effectively be treated in isolation: not Obamacare alone, not Federal spending alone (especially not by “cutting” through reducing the rate of growth in spending), not taxing alone, not debt handling alone.

Losing Health Coverage

The CBO and Progressive-Democrats in Congress loudly claim that millions will lose their health coverage plans under Republican plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

What the Progressive-Democrats are carefully ignoring (the CBO not so much; they weren’t tasked with comparing the Republican plans and Obamacare) are the real millions that already are losing or are about to lose their health coverage plans because Obamacare is collapsing now.

The nation’s second largest health insurance company, Anthem, will extract itself from the majority of the ObamaCare market in the state of Ohio by 2018, the company announced Tuesday, raising questions about the future of its exchange participation.

Medicaid Transfers

It’s well understood that Medicaid badly wants reform.  My own view is to give it back to the States by reducing Federal fund transfers to them until the transfers are zero, which also would eliminate Federal strings jerking the States to do everything the same way, the Federal way.

There are lots of paths to that end, and there are a number of other reforms that would help the situation at least a little.  The House plan for repeal and replace of Obamacare, the first step of which was the American Health Care Act, has one such step, the repeal of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid Cuts?

Some conservative Republican Senators are looking to cut Federal transfers to the States earmarked for those States’ Medicaid programs.  Others are concerned.

[T]he [conservative Senate Republicans’] Medicaid plan could affect many more people and shift significant costs onto hospitals and states.

Going Soft

Senate pseudo-Republicans are balking at one good item that was contained the House-passed American Health Care Act: repeal of Obamacare’s trillion dollars’ worth of taxes.  These guys actually don’t see the value of that repeal.  Senator Susan Collins (R, ME) is typical:

I don’t see how you can repeal all of the pay-fors…and still meet the goal of providing health-insurance coverage for people who truly need assistance[.]

Aside from the false premise of needing Federal government “pay-fors” as a default position, rather than a last result, the Lady from Maine and her fellows plainly either don’t understand free market principles, or they have no confidence in free markets.

Foolishness

James Capretta and Lanhee Chen of American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution, respectively, have a piece in a recent Wall Street Journal edition that talks about how to “nudge” uninsured Americans into getting health coverage plans.  It’s impressive in its…foolishness…(I’m being polite).

Congress can help these Americans and many others get insurance by enrolling them in no-premium, no-obligation plans from which they could withdraw if they wanted to.

No. Not only no, Hell no. No squared. We’ve enough Big Government intruding into our private lives, arrogantly presuming to make our private decisions for us, without adding this to the steaming pile.