A Bit More on Health Care Coverage

Senator Susan Collins (R, ME) is worried about health care plan availability to our poor, which she thinks would be endangered were President Donald Trump to act on his thoughts regarding cutting off the funds the Feds pay to health coverage plan providers to get them to charge (artificially) lower deductibles and copays from the poor.

It really would be detrimental to some of the most vulnerable citizens if those payments were cut off. They’re paid to the insurance companies, but the people that they benefit are people who make between 100% and 250% of the poverty rate.

Obamacare and Choice

There are 3,142 counties and equivalents (Louisiana has parishes, Alaska has boroughs, three States each have an independent city, Virginia has 38 of them, and State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations does things entirely differently) in the US.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expects that 40 of those counties will have no health care coverage plan providers at all in 2018, and 1,332 of those counties—over 40% of them—will have only one such provider.

The Betrayal of Lisa Murkowski

Lisa Murkowki is a Republican Senator from Alaska who voted against even opening debate on repeal and replace of Obamacare.

Murkowski has betrayed her constituents.  She betrayed them this week by trying to block debate on repeal and replace.  Or, she betrayed her constituents when she lied to them in 2015 with her vote in favor of repeal in the full knowledge that her vote didn’t matter because then-President Barack Obama (D) would veto the matter.

Republicans and Obamacare

In a Wall Street Journal editorial about Republican Senators’ timorous attitude toward actual repeal and replace of Obamacare now that what they do matters, the editors had this remark toward the end of their piece:

One vote to watch would repeal ObamaCare with a two-year window to replace it, which is similar to a bill that 51 Senate Republicans voted for in 2015. We’ll see how many have changed their minds.

We’ll see how many have changed their minds.  The rest of that sentence is this: …now that their vote has actual consequences, and they can’t hide behind their virtue signaling.

It’s Time

…to sweep the ones we can’t trust from the Republican Party of Castrati and from Congress.

When Republicans voted on the repeal-only bill in 2015, they knew Mr Obama would veto it, making their vote largely symbolic. Of the GOP senators currently in the chamber, 49 voted for it at the time.  …

Moreover, many GOP lawmakers have already acknowledged that they would vote differently now that the stakes are far higher….

Now that these persons have to take action more concrete than virtue signaling, they’re exposing themselves as porch dogs.  They’re betraying their country, and more specifically, they’re betraying their constituents, to whom they promised for the last seven years, they’d repeal Obamacare and replace it.

Questions for Susan Collins

Susan Collins is the Republican Senator from Maine whose refusal to vote for the health care reform bill on offer (and any of the prior efforts) is centered on her insistence that the bill’s cuts to reductions to growth in Medicaid payments to the States—Maine in particular—are too great.  Collins needs to be asked, and required to give straight, substantive answers to, a number of questions.

What is Maine’s government doing to reduce the costs to its citizens of health care and of health coverage?

What is Maine’s government doing to make health care available to its citizens in the absence of health coverage?

The Cruz Amendment

Senator Ted Cruz (R, TX) has a provision in the latest Senate health bill that’s on offer, one that would allow sellers of actual health insurance to sell non-Obamacare compliant policies on the condition that they also sold Obamacare compliant plans on the ObamaMart.  The idea, and it’s a sound one, is that those plans, better tailored their customers’ needs, would soon have commensurately lower premiums, deductibles, and copays and thereby be more affordable.

Health plan sellers don’t like it, though.

While this setup could offer healthy people less expensive policies, insurers and actuaries say it would likely prove dysfunctional over time, pushing up rates and reducing offerings for people buying the compliant plans.

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.