Steve's Blog

The Truth About the Republican Health Care Bill

I haven’t seen so much misinformation and hysterics about a piece of legislation in a long long time – maybe ever. Republicans in the House finally got our bill to repeal and replace Obamacare across the finish line last Friday. You’d have thought we abolished Social Security, declared Martial law, and changed the name of the country to the United States of Ronald Reagan, all in one fell swoop. The Democrats, the liberals, the so-called Resistance, has been apoplectic.

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So what’s the truth? Well, here’s what’s NOT true. Dems claim that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) does away with current protections for those with pre-existing conditions. NOT TRUE. Those with pre-existing conditions will continue to have coverage. It does give states the option to set up their own plans (high risk pools) as long as people with pre-existing conditions are covered.

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Dems claim that 24 million people will lose their health care coverage under the Republican House plan. The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) made this estimate about the first Republican plan, which never got a vote, a month back. The CBO has a pretty spotty record at best in their predictions. For example, CBO projected that 21 million Americans would gain health care coverage under Obamacare; it turned out to be 10, not 21. Further, under the Republican plan, folks not covered by health insurance at work, or under a government plan (like Medicaid), will be eligible for a refundable tax credit to purchase health care insurance. And many Americans, mostly younger folks, may make their own decision not to carry insurance. Many young people are currently paying a fine every year not to be covered by Obamacare. The Republican plan eliminates these fines, and all the Obamacare taxes.

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And the Dems claim that the Republican plan will cause Americans to die. This is such an absurdly over-the-top charge, that it hardly merits a response. But I will anyway. Rather than cause people to die, the Republican plan will give more Americans better health care coverage, and at a more affordable price.

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Barack Obama had promised that under Obamacare people could keep their insurance plan, and their doctor, if they wanted to. And that insurance rates would decrease by $2,500 per family per year. It turned out many people couldn’t keep their plans and doctors. And rather than rates coming down under Obamacare, they’ve gone up dramatically. Insurance premiums and deductibles have been going through the roof. And multiple insurance companies have pulled out of the Obamacare individual markets, resulting in rates shooting up, because there’s no competition. Obamacare is imploding before our eyes.

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The goal of the Republican plan is to bring insurance premiums down. Give people more choices. Make health care in America more patient-centered. Treat patients like human beings – not like numbers. Take health care decision-making away from the bureaucrats in Washington, and give it to doctors and their patients. And make sure that every American has access to quality, affordable health care.

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The step taken last Friday in the House is of course only a first step. A big step, but only a first step. The Senate will now consider their own plan, which could be similar to the House plan, or very different indeed. We’ll see.

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Meanwhile, the head of HHS (Health and Human Services), Tom Price, is meticulously going through the 1,400 regulations which make Obamacare Obamacare. He can make appropriate changes without any Congressional approval necessary.

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And then there’s a third step in the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare. Things like allowing the sale of insurance policies across state lines, allowing small businesses to join together to negotiate better deals with insurance companies, and medical malpractice reform. These improvements will be taken in “regular order”, which means that 60 votes in the Senate will be necessary to pass them. Since there are only 52 Republican Senators, 8 Democrats would have to vote yes. It may take another election, which adds more Republican Senators, to overcome this final hurdle. Again, we’ll see.

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Anyway, that’s the way I see things. I would suggest that as you hear outrageous charges being made by Democrats about Republican health care reforms, use your common sense. Consider the facts, rather than hysterical rhetoric. And know that Republicans believe the American people deserve a whole lot better than what they’re currently getting under Obamacare.

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