Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Republicans to Fight Fire with Gasoline

Trump and the Republicans are like firemen who have come up with a policy to fight fire but left in the part about pouring gasoline on it. As premiums have skyrocketed and as health insurers have left the business altogether, Trump and the Republicans, eager to decry the disaster and empathize with their suffering constituents, have decided to repeal everything about Obamacare, except the cause of its failure!
The essence of Obamacare, and it's internal contradiction, is the idea of banning the exclusion of policies based on pre-existing conditions. Insurance IS the pooling of risk by excluding those with pre-existing conditions, just as car insurers don't insure cars after crashes. Since insurance is not magic (no one would buy a policy before they were sick), the program must force everyone to buy policies they do not want, and so it requires tax penalties, mandates, etc. all to create the illusion that it's actually insurance, when it is really a stealth socialized system where healthy people are forced to pay high premiums and/or taxes to subsidize unhealthy people.
As the situation worsens and with their political future at stake, the Republicans have now decided to repeal everything about Obamacare except one feature, which they all agree must remain, and that is... wait for it.....the ban on excluding pre-existing conditions - the very cause of higher premiums and failing insurers! So what exactly do they want to change? Naturally, they want to excise the penalties and mandates - the only feature that makes that system marginally functional.
Evidently, they wish to keep the cause of the disaster while formulating some kind of alchemist policy that will promise everyone great insurance without costing anyone money. (That was essentially Trump's campaign promise.) Amazingly, now their goal seems to be just to pass anything, even if it ultimately fails, so they can tell people they did something. Fortunately, because a few Republicans, like Rand Paul, know this is doomed to fail, they are floundering, and their effort seems destined to fail.
Rather than articulating a free market solution to health care, such as repealing mandates, removing tax code incentives for employers to provide expensive insurance, reforming tort laws, liberating doctors, patients and insurers to voluntarily enter into mutually beneficial contracts, and encouraging the creation of private charitable and non-profit institutions that help the disadvantaged, the Republicans once again have shown they have no clue.

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