Fitness To Govern
The opening days of the 115th Congress is only days old and there are hints (ones you can’t miss) that governing will be a difficult task for the Republican Party. Choosing as their first issue, the gutting of the independent watchdog Office of Congressional Ethics, the GOP signaled that the 115th would be about minding the Congress members’ needs, not that of the American people. Following public outcry and a quick admonishment from President-elect Trump, the rules change was quickly withdrawn. So much for commitment to purpose.
Next on the list was the repeal of Obamacare, making the difference between America’s second class healthcare delivery system even greater compared to other modern industrial countries. Lacking the votes to pass “repeal and replace” legislation, Republicans appear content to simply “repeal” and hope that they can agree on a “replace” later. For those 20 million insured by the Affordable Care Act, this is worrisome, although not unexpected.
For supporters of “repeal”, one can only ask “what are you thinking”?
The New York Times today suggest many of repeal supporters trust Republicans will keep provisions such as “pre-existing conditions”, probably no life time spending limits, and keeping children eligible for their parents insurance until age 26 in the replace package. These supporters also expect healthcare insurance costs to tumble… and the sun to shine every day.
Analyzing this healthcare mess must begin with the assumption that universal healthcare, single payer delivery is not in the GOP DNA. Consequently Americans are left with a for profit healthcare insurance industry looking after a for profit healthcare (doctors, hospitals, drug/medical equipment) delivery system. Apparently Americans trust their insurance company (that brought users pre-existing condition exclusions, life time payment limits, and arbitrary definitions of who qualifies to belong to a family) more than the government (that brings many Americans Medicare single payer insurance).
Wide open eyes can see that there is no replace plan which can insure the same number of Americans without generating the same offsetting revenue as Obamacare. Republicans must “replace” with less coverage or insure less Americans. The for profit big insurance companies’ profit margins will dictate annual price increases. Higher premiums costs will soon follow.
So one is left with the conclusion that Republicans do not worry about insuring all Americans. As a corollary, Republicans may think requiring Americans to scramble for insurance in some way may makes them better people (like pulling oneself up by the bootstraps). Hmmm.
There are indications that President-elect Trump has a different view on health insurance and will attempt to reign in the leaderless Republican Congress. While Trump has said he wants to repeal and replace Obamacare, he too has not stated what the replace will look like. Hmmm.
The repeal of the Affordable Care Act may also trigger unintended consequences too. Obamacare calls for all business with 50 employees or more to provide health insurance. It may not take long for the free market to figure they no longer need to provide health insurance since employees may be able to obtain tax credits and cheap (mainly covering catastrophic events) insurance policies.
With some employers not providing insurance, voters will take more than a dim view of the GOP, as they should.
Wouldn’t it be a hoot if it turns out President-elect Trump is more fit to govern that the GOP controlled Congress?