Joan Walsh at The Nation thinks that Trumpcare Is a Political Disaster—for Trump. Failure to pass a bill reveals the White House’s weakness. But passing the bill will ravage Trump’s base.
… In meetings with the bill’s conservative critics—from Senator Ted Cruz and family to members of the House Freedom Caucus and Tea Party groups, Trump is said to be promising to halt expanded federal Medicaid support as soon as 2018, rather than 2020 as the bill currently does. House Speaker Paul Ryan, fresh from a lie-ridden Thursday morning PowerPoint presentation of his bill, is reported to be unhappy. The speaker looked like a menswear model pretending to do some work as he complained that under “Obamacare…young and healthy people are going to go into the market and pay for the older, sicker people.” Thus the program is a “death spiral,” he claimed. Ryan thus proved, despite his Beltway reputation as a wonk, that he doesn’t have a clue how insurance works—as the Internet let him know.
As does AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona in Alleged ‘Boy Genius’ Paul Ryan doesn’t know how insurance works. Particularly interesting - and entertaining - is the skewering with a journalistic red-hot poker by Charles Pierce.
Ryan’s nemesis, Charles Pierce of Esquire, writes Paul Ryan Doesn’t Know How Insurance Works:
I had thought that the burlesque comic opera The Agony of Paul Ryan, Genius had closed on the night in 2012 when Joe Biden laughed the zombie-eyed granny starver off the stage during their debate. (That was the night that Ryan demonstrated that he knew it snowed in Afghanistan in the winter.) But I had not reckoned with his many fanboys among the kept political press. He ascended to become Speaker of the House, largely because nobody else wanted the job after John Boehner got kicked to the curb by the crazy people.
Now he is out there pimping the dungheap that is the new healthcare reform bill as though Mitch and Murray from downtown were lighting his pants on fire. He even lost the suit coat and broke out the PowerPoint on Thursday. It was like watching something on cable access late at night, or a flop-sweaty rookie substitute teacher, and it was hilarious—except for the parts where people will lose their health insurance and die, of course. And this is what he said and, peace be unto Dave Barry, I am not making it up, either:
Paul Ryan said that insurance cannot work if healthy people have to pay more to subsidize the sick.
This is literally how all insurance works. If someone’s house burns down, some of your fire insurance money goes to help that person rebuild. If someone gets sick, some of your premium, healthy person, goes toward that person’s coverage. Increasingly, I have come to believe that Paul Ryan is a not particularly bright creature from another world. Let us see if we can explain this to the lad.
Let’s say that, in 1986, a 16-year-old lad loses his father to a sudden heart attack. Despite the fact that the family’s construction firm is relatively prosperous due to its generous share of government contracts, the family’s finances are considerably straitened. For the next two years, the young man and his mother receive Social Security survivor’s benefits. Of course, these came from millions of people who had Social Security withheld from their paychecks and whose fathers did not die young due to a sudden heart attack. One of them was, say, a 32-year-old sportswriter for the Boston Herald, who had Social Security withheld from what he was paid to watch the Red Sox blow the ’86 World Series, and whose father was still alive, but slipping fast into Alzheimer’s. Some of his money went to make sure Paul Ryan could complete high school and go on the college and get the BA in economics that made him the smartest man in the world.
Got it now?
Also, you’re welcome, rube.
Joan Walsh concludes:
Let’s be honest: The House Republican plan is a tax cut for the rich disguised as health-care reform. Its intentions are diabolical and disastrous, but as a piece of legislation, it is an ideological and practical mess. One fact is inescapable: If you designed a plan to hurt Trump’s most loyal base—those white working-class voters in red and purple states who gave him the presidency—this is what you would design.
But so far, Trump seems not to have noticed this—or perhaps not to care. He is too busy taking credit for jobs numbers that are actually part of President Obama’s legacy (this after accusing his predecessor of “wiretapping” him). The guy who wrote The Art of the Deal (well, who slapped his name on it; Tony Schwartz wrote it) is actually a terrible deal maker when his marks have a little bit of power. Trump isn’t facing down small contractors he can fail to pay; he’s negotiating with House and Senate members whose votes are crucial to his plans. It’s harder to lie and make promises he won’t keep, though not impossible. The coming Trumpcare debacle will either expose deep rifts in the GOP, and the limits of the new president to bridge them, or it will toss an estimated 15 million Americans off their insurance plans, most of them in Trump-supporting red and purple states. And there will be an awful lot of Trump voters, like this one in North Carolina, who develop a case of buyer’s remorse that no insurance plan will cover.
The comments in response to the Blue Meanie’s post are informative. “Edward Cizek” succinctly explains that “… if signing up for coverage is voluntary, then only the relatively unhealthy, who expect to benefit from purchasing insurance, end up doing so, which leads the actuarily fair price of coverage to rise, and more people end up dropping out of coverage. The individual mandate, at least in theory, helps push costs down for people who are less healthy than average.” Conservative commenter “Steve” responded “A BIG flaw in the GOP Plan (one of many) is the elimination of mandated participation. Yes, I know I griped about it, but it won’t work any other way. ;o)”
So if the “dungheap”, as Charles Pierce called it, passes through the legislative process, we can expect an insurance death spiral resulting in millions without health insurance. That, according to Trump, in a burst of narcissistic psychopathology, will be “a beautiful picture.”