Obamacare’s death spiral is spinning even faster this week with the announcement by insurance mega-corporation Humana that they are withdrawing from the program.
When Obamacare goes bankrupt, it threatens to destroy the private healthcare industry and could cause economic ruin.
Yet, Republicans refuse to repeal the program, saying they want to wait until next year to look at it.
What is the GOP establishment really up to? And could a Paul Ryan/Mitch McConnell healthcare plan be even worse?
Humana’s announcement should have been the opening Republicans used to introduce and vote on the Obamacare repeal. Coverage of the announcement was so damning of the program even the liberal media couldn’t sugarcoat it.
“The insurer said Tuesday it had taken several actions to improve that business [Obamacare policies], but it was still seeing signs of unbalanced risk in that customer population. Health insurers have struggled to attract enough healthy people to their risk pools to balance the claims they incur from people with expensive medical conditions,” the usually liberal Associated Press reported.
Instead, Republicans refused to budge.
Their refusal to act did not go unnoticed by the likes of Ann Coulter.
“Where’s the Obamacare repeal? Where are the hearings featuring middle-class Americans with no health insurance because it was made illegal by Obamacare?” wrote Coulter.
“The House passed six Obamacare repeals when Obama was president and there was no chance of them being signed into law. Back then, Republicans were full of vim and vigor! But the moment Trump became president, the repeals came to a screeching halt,” she noted.
So what’s the holdup?
For one, the most popular Obamacare repeal bill takes away the Obamacare taxes Republican leaders hoped could be used to expand Medicaid.
Senator Rand Paul’s “Obamacare Replacement Act” won the support this week of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of Congress’ most conservative members.
It also has the tentative support of President Donald Trump.
The plan completely eliminates all Obamacare taxes, policies and exchanges, replacing them instead with higher limits on contributions to health savings accounts, expanding health insurance markers to allow shopping across state lines and the elimination of regulations that drive up costs.
That throws a monkey wrench into GOP establishment plans to “replace” Obamacare with expanded Medicaid, placing millions on taxpayer-funded plans.
As The Washington Post reported:
“Members discussed whether to institute per capita limits on how much money the government would put into the Medicaid system or to shift to a “block grant” where states receive a lump sum of money to distribute as they see fit.
The memo distributed to lawmakers says that states would be able to choose whether to receive a block grant or remain in the traditional, capped program. But the states that participated in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion would eventually lose out on much of the federal funding they have used to cover millions of Americans.
Under the ACA, the federal government covers more than 90 percent of the costs to insure the expanded Medicaid population. The GOP blueprint suggests slowly stepping down that percentage over an undetermined period of time, after which states “would be reimbursed at their traditional match rates for these beneficiaries.” Those rates vary from state to state; some receive as little as 50 percent, meaning individual states could lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year in federal reimbursements under the GOP proposal.”
But a combination of not being able to agree on a plan, and not wanting to be blamed for “taking away healthcare” has the GOP establishment’s progress on a bill ground to a halt.
While GOP leaders argue over who will get blamed for what, Obamacare is falling apart even faster than predicted.
Without repeal, and replacement with a free market solution, millions of Americans will pay the price for their lack of leadership.