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GOP Senate whiffs.

July 18, 2017

It’s a trite phrase, but it’s true; it is incredibly difficult to take away a government program.

To no one’s surprise, the Senate failed to muster enough support for its plan to replace Obamacare, and may not even have large enough cajones to repeal it.

Bear in mind, this was not something that was ready to go to the President.  All this phase was going to do was release the language of the bill to the Senate floor for debate and amendment and it probably would have moved on to the legislative reconciliation phase after that.

For the people who are struggling to afford the premiums now but still can’t get actual healthcare because they don’t have 5 to 20 thousand dollars in the bank to cover the deductibles and co-pays,  this leaves them with little choice but to drop their plans completely.

As one man said “Hell, I might as well put the premium money in the bank and pay cash.  At least then I might be able to find a doctor who would see me.”

Of course for people in over 40 counties, they have already effectively lost their coverage, since no insurers remain to issue policies on the exchanges.

It also does nothing to relieve businesses from the mandatory coverage rules. That will definitely have an impact on jobs and growth.

Add to that the GOP’s insistence on substantially cutting Medicare and Social Security for upcoming retirees in upcoming budget discussions, and you can see the handwriting on the wall.

Hardline conservatives are all puffed up about upholding their principles, but that doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot to Mr. and Mrs. Average American.

Having said that, neither the House or the Senate bill actually fixed anything. Critics who said all of the proposals were just Obamacare-lite are correct.

Unfortunately that’s as much out of necessity as it is political grandstanding. The only way to safely unwind the ACA was incrementally, especially given that we have no way of knowing what insurers would do if some phases stayed and others didn’t.

One of the things that has never been discussed publicly is where insurers stood operationally on any of the plans.  All we have heard is that they don’t like them.

If Obamacare is repealed, would insurers be ready to take up the slack with a mix of truly affordable, widely accessible plans?

Given their losses under the ACA, it’s highly unlikely.

Underneath all this though is an uncomfortable long-term reality.

The Feds, and that means we the taxpayers, can’t afford to be all things to all people.

In the short term, the failure to do anything with Obamacare is going to give Dems a very big soapbox.

Since very few people seems to be able to think past the next 24 hour news cycle it’s going to get a lot louder and a lot uglier.

About the only thing Congress can do to salvage any sort of public support now is to pass the tax cuts the President has promised quickly and completely, i.e.. for both individuals and businesses.

Since Congress so far has not been able to anything either quickly or completely,  you might not want to take the short end of the odds on that happening.

From → op-ed

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