Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Robert Reich: Three Big Reasons Republicans Can’t Replace Obamacare

This morning (Jan. 10) I learned from ABC news that there is a bill - in the Senate I believe - to delay the vote on repealing on the ACA by a month to give the Republicans an opportunity to figure out a replacement.  One month?!?!?!?!?  They've had six years and couldn't do anything.  Why will one measly month make a difference?  Moreover, there are three good reasons why the Republicans will never, ever figure it out.  So says Robert Reich in The Three Big Reasons Republicans Can’t Replace Obamacare.

Republicans are preparing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and have promised to replace it with something that doesn’t leave more than 20 million Americans stranded without health insurance. 

But they still haven’t come up with a replacement. "We haven’t coalesced around a solution for six years,” Republican Senator Tom Cotton admitted last week.  “Kicking the can down the road for a year or two years isn’t going to make it any easier to solve.“ 

They won’t solve it. They can’t and won’t replace Obamacare, for three big reasons.  

First, Republicans say they want their replacement to be “market-based.” But Obamacare is already market based – relying on private, for profit health insurers. 

Reich explains why that's already a problem - the for-profits just drop out if they are not making enough money.

Second, every part of Obamacare depends on every other part. Trump says he’d like to continue to bar insurers from denying coverage to individuals with preexisting conditions. 

But this popular provision depends on healthy people being required to pay into the insurance pool, a mandate that Republicans vow to eliminate. 

[Here is] the third big reason Republicans can’t come up with a replacement. Revoking the tax increases in Obamacare – a key part of the repeal – would make it impossible to finance these subsidies.

Reich lists three fiscal effects of the repeal.  The wealthiest would receive a huge tax break, working class Americans would see their taxes go up, and Medicare would be at risk for insolvency.

Ultimately, the only practical answer to these three dilemmas is Medicare for all – a single payer system. But Republicans would never go for it. 

So without Obamacare, Republicans are left with nothing. Zilch. Nada. 

Except the prospect of more than 20 million people losing their health insurance, and a huge redistribution from the working class to the very rich. 

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