The Republicans’ Best Replacement for Obamacare is Obamacare.

by Pitt Griffin on January 16, 2017 · 1 comment

in Healthcare

Paul Ryan says that the replacement for Obamacare will be well thought out – much better than the current dog’s dinner. And as soon as they repeal the ACA they’re going to start working on it. Which raises the question: What have they been doing for the last seven years?

However, there is good news for Republicans. They don’t have to look too far for a replacement. There are two. And best of all, they are Republican creations. Romneycare, which was a success in Massachusetts. And the Newt Gingrich-led Republican congressional plan rolled out in 1994.

At the time ‘Newtcare’ was the Republican ploy to keep health insurance as a market-based endeavor – countering ‘Hillarycare’, a government-based option.

So why not just roll out ‘Newtcare’? It’s a fair question. The answer is that the Republicans’ 1994 plan is essentially ‘Obamacare’. Which is what the Republicans are now trying to get rid of. You see, the Republicans have no ‘absolute’ values. If the GOP proposes a 10% tax cut – it is good. If the Democrats propose a 10% tax cut – it’s not enough.

Let me add another ingredient to the Republican healthcare stew.

It is accepted wisdom among conservatives that Americans hate Obamacare. Certainly, some do. A larger number don’t. And a third group is willing to see it repealed – but only if it is replaced. Replaced with a better plan – not an IOU or vague promises of something ‘terrific’.

Even among people who are ‘repeal no matter what’ there is great affection for many elements of Obama’s eponymous plan. No cap, no denial for pre-existing conditions, free contraception (name a better return on investment) and the like. But what Republicans won’t admit is that none of it works without the individual mandate.

‘Socialized’ medicine keeps costs down because everyone pays into the system. The young may not benefit immediately – but let them not complain, the old would willingly trade places with them – but in the long run, they will accrue the same benefits, that the ‘new’ young would be paying for. In a sense, the youth of today are investing in their future medical well-being.

Republicans do have another option – keep Obamacare, just call it something else. Perhaps the ACA. Many people like Obama’s plan a hell of a lot better when they don’t know it’s his plan.

The whole brouhaha illustrates this incisive understanding of the human condition: “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” And for those who think that aphorism is a socialist sop, the author was the great saint of modern American conservatism, Ronald Reagan. Although, I suspect that, as conservatives do, he ‘borrowed’ the idea from another.

Politics is the art of blame and credit. People, who can check their ego are rarely in that arena.

Last in the healthcare discussion is the President-elect – he has promised wider, better coverage – at lower cost. But as his plan is mostly adjectives, it is impossible to rate it. Let’s revisit the compulsive liar’s effort when there is something on paper.

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