After all this, a rational party would want to scrap Obamacare or modify it significantly. President Obama has tinkered but nothing more. Democrats act as if it is as essential to national wellbeing as Medicare and Social Security. It’s been “a big success,” House minority leader Nancy Pelosi declared last week, and there were no reports of eye rolling among her colleagues. “We [had] three goals. One was to lower cost, [an]other to improve benefits, and the third, to increase access.” That sounds great, but it’s only true for those who had no health insurance and now get it free (at taxpayers’ expense). The rest of us pay more and our access to specific policies and doctors is limited.
Oddly enough, the premise of the Democratic effort to “rescue” Obamacare is that the health care system will stumble during the transition from the time Republicans repeal it to when they replace it. Democrats want it to be seen as Trumpcare. Republicans will “own it [and] all the problems in the health system,” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said.
The result will be national chaos, he insisted. “Because you cannot repeal a plan and put nothing in its place,” he told Politico. Actually, Obamacare will still exist during the “transition” from repeal to replacement by a GOP plan. But Republicans will be in charge of it, Schumer said, “and I believe a year from now, they will regret that they came out so fast out of the box.”
A hardy perennial has been added to the mix: Medicare. It’s the most popular program in the history of health care. Obamacare is the least popular. Democrats treat them as two peas in a pod and claim Republicans want to “dismantle” both. In truth, Medicare isn’t part of repeal or replace, but that’s a fact, one of many, that Democrats ignore.
Medicare, however, may be the least of the problems Republicans will confront. When insurance providers quit the Obamacare exchanges, Republicans blamed President Obama and Democrats. Now blame will go in the other direction. Unfair? Perhaps, but that won’t stop the assault on Republicans.
Democrats would like to bribe insurers to stay in the system by covering their losses. Obamacare originally allowed for that, but Republicans got a provision barring these bailouts in the 2015 omnibus budget. Democrats haven’t forgotten. It gives them another reason to blame Republicans for the unraveling of Obamacare.
Then there are the inevitable hikes in premiums. The 40 percent increase over the past two years was fodder for Republican attacks. Trump credits the rise in premiums last year with helping him win the White House. Democrats are poised to blame Republicans in 2017. Forget about the real culprit, Obamacare itself.
Democrats have put together a list of horrible things “the Republicans’ irresponsible plan” would do. It would dismantle “Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare” except for one thing: Such a plan is fiction. Nevertheless, the nonexistent plan would “exacerbate the opioid epidemic” and “provide tax breaks for millionaires” and “damage local hospitals.” Even if there were a real plan, these accusations would be a stretch.
Other charges are false or hypocritical. Every Republican from Trump on down has said young people can stay on their parents’ insurance, and the ban on discrimination against those with previous medical conditions would remain. Yet Democrats insist the GOP would kill both provisions.
Hypocrisy? There’s a lot of it. Republicans would “increase health care costs,” Democrats claim. They should know. They’re well-versed in the cost surge with Obamacare. A plan that cost $3,750 in 2015 would on average cost $5,250 in 2017.
. “Under Obamacare, the federal government decrees that Americans must buy health insurers’ product, which isn’t true for any other business in the country—indeed in the history of the country,” Jeffrey Anderson of the Hudson Institute says.
There’s a way Republicans can minimize their risk in going from repeal to replace. They can move quickly. If the gap is merely weeks, they’ll avoid trouble. If it’s months or years, they’ll maximize their vulnerability.
The ostensible reason for the Democratic offensive against Republicans on health care is to cajole them into putting off a vote on repeal. It answers Obama’s plea to “rescue” Obamacare from being axed. The odds are against success, but what if Republicans collapse and Obamacare survives?
Schumer said Republicans are like the dog that caught the bus. If Obamacare lives on, Democrats will be that dog. But is this what they really want, including the political suffering that the misbegotten health care program carries with it? I think the answer is yes. They’re saving a great liberal dream. They can’t let it die. They’re addicted.
source–weekly std, fred barnes, chuck schumer, politico,