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Conservatives supporting Graham-Cassidy are pretending it’s not Obamacarelite

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Graham Cassidy Obamacarelite

Graham-Cassidy is Obamacarelite. Period. It fails to address the two biggest issues with Obamacare… which happen to be the two biggest issues raised by conservative Republicans over the past seven years. First, it does NOT remove the federal government’s hands from a healthcare industry in which it does not belong. Second, it does NOT take steps to reducing premiums or health care costs for average American households.

On the first issue, some would point to the block grants, state waivers, and the removal of individual and employer mandates as examples of how this is a step towards removing the federal government from healthcare. I’ll address each of these individually, but let’s look at the obvious problem with that argument. This bill isn’t designed to be a “step.” This is it. This is what the GOP wants the healthcare system to look like indefinitely. If you have a knife in your back, pulling it out a little bit doesn’t mean you no longer have a knife in your back.

Let’s look at the three major components:

  1. Block Grants: Paul Ryan and Lindsey Graham are screaming, “yay federalism!” Here’s the problem. Block grants coming from the federal government instead of going towards Medicaid expansion doesn’t change a thing. It’s still the federal government taking our money and giving it to insurance companies. Adding the states as a middle man does nothing to change that fact. It gives the states more control on how the money is distributed, but it doesn’t reduce the distribution by a penny. On paper, they’ll come up with math that shows cost reductions for DC. Long-term, it will actually increase the expenditures as grants are reconciled from projections to reality.
  2. State Waivers: This is a misdirection. It won’t be used in a significant way by any states. Why? The block grants. It would be political suicide for any state legislature to say they’re going to accept less money from DC so they can put everything on the backs of the citizens in their state. Some states will waive some portions, but again, it will not be significant. This is just a magic flag conservatives can wave around to justify voting for the bill.
  3. Removing Mandates: Good. No problem with this. In fact, I love it. Outside of defunding Planned Parenthood, this is my favorite part of the bill.

As for the second issue – not reducing premiums – this will actually accelerate the rising costs of healthcare, premiums, and deductibles. In other words, when Republicans vowed to reduce your costs of healthcare, they weren’t serious… at least not if they pass this bill. There are many things they could do to reduce costs if they would simply repeal Obamacare and start taking free-market steps. Open up interstate competition. Incentivize HSAs. Encourage innovation and competition in the healthcare industry in general. They have the power and the mandate to make healthcare more affordable for average American households and they simply refuse to do it.

The most common argument you’ll hear is that it’s not perfect but it’s better than Obamacare. I’m okay with better as long as it’s TRULY better, but since this doesn’t address the two biggest flaws of Obamacare, it’s only incrementally better. Pouring sugar on a rotten piece of peach cobbler might make it easier to eat, but you’re still eating rotten food nonetheless. It will still make you sick. The Republicans have control of the House, Senate, and White House. They have absolutely, positively zero excuses for not putting forth a bill that actually addresses the fundamental flaws of Obamacare.

One final note: both Obamacare and Obamacarelite are stepping stones to single-payer. Obamacare’s failures are the reason that “Medicare for All” is gaining steam. Obamacarelite suffers from the same problems. It’s a very tiny band-aid that will not stop the bleeding, so when it’s demonstrated as not being able to solve the problems of Obamacare, the cries for single-payer will grow louder. If this bill passes, watch for major GOP losses in 2018 and 2020 followed by a push for single-payer in 2021.

I’ll wrap up in a moment, but first let’s look at what’s being said about it from around the web:

Perspectives

New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum | Peter Sullivan, The Hill

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/351198-new-gop-obamacare-repeal-bill-gains-momentumDemocrats argue the block grants would be too small and would lead to cuts to Medicaid and other health spending. The liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found the bill would on average lead to a 17 percent cut in spending compared to ObamaCare in 2026.

Lindsey Graham: Obamacare overhaul is ‘Bernie Sanders’ worst nightmare’

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/lindsey-graham-obamacare-overhaul-is-bernie-sanders-worst-nightmare/article/2634728Cassidy has said the bill is only a vote or two shy of the support it needs to pass. In July, Senate Republicans failed to pass a bill that would have narrowly repealed portions of Obamacare. All Democrats voted against it, as did GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; John McCain, R-Ariz., dealt the fatal blow to the legislation and called for public hearings to discuss ways to improve the healthcare system.

Dems demand full CBO analysis of Obamacare repeal plan | Heather Caygle, Politico

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/18/obamacare-repeal-lindsey-graham-bill-cassidy-cbo-242841Democratic congressional leaders are demanding a full budget analysis of the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare, a move that threatens to stall the legislation ahead of a critical Sept. 30 deadline.

Ron Johnson schedules hearing on health care block grants – Washington Times

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/sep/18/johnson-schedules-hearing-health-care-block-grants/Mr. Johnson, chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and his cosponsors say the bill known as “Graham-Cassidy” is Congress’s best chance to devolve power from Washington to governors by replacing the 2010 Affordable Care Act with block grants to the states.

How Graham-Cassidy redistributes federal money – Axios

https://www.axios.com/how-graham-cassidy-redistributes-federal-money-2486664997.htmlThere’s a lot of skepticism in Washington over whether the latest Affordable Care Act repeal bill, proposed by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, can pass. One of the many reasons is that a lot of Republican senators’ states — particularly those that expanded Medicaid — would lose a lot of money.

What Single-Payer Looks Like: Smokers and Obese Banned from Surgery at British Govt Hospital Thanks to Budget

http://legalinsurrection.com/2017/09/what-single-payer-looks-like-smokers-and-obese-banned-from-surgery-at-british-govt-hospital-thanks-to-budget/In Sanders’ fantasy world, single-payer system is the only cure for what ails the American healthcare system. Most of his Democratic Senate colleagues agree. They were wrong about Obamacare and what it would fix and they’re wrong single-payer.

Splintered: Single-Payer Litmus Test Has Cut The Democratic Party In Two – Matt Vespa

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2017/09/18/splintered-singlepayer-litmus-test-has-cut-democrats-right-down-the-middle-n2381168Like it or not, the Democratic Party is not a national one. It’s been decimated during and after the Obama era, with 1,000 fewer Democrats in office than there were in 2008-09. The GOP control Congress, the White House, 69/99 state legislatures, and two-thirds of the governorships. The Republicans are at the apex of their power.

Rand Paul is unlikely to support the Graham-Cassidy measure – Washington Times

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/sep/18/rand-paul-is-unlikely-to-support-the-graham-cassid/“No consevative [sic] should vote for a rebranded trillion dollar spending program just because it adds some block grants,” Mr. Paul tweeted adding, “Keeping 90% of Obamacare is not ok and it’s not what we ran on. Conservatives should say no.”

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Final Thoughts

This is not the fulfillment of the promises the GOP made for the last seven years. This is a false repeal and replace model that’s nothing more than “tweak and rebrand.” Spread the word that this isn’t the bill it’s being sold as by Republicans. They’re counting on the vast majority of Americans not paying attention.

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  1. Pingback: Tax cuts are great but meaningless without spending cuts – Da Tech Guy Blog

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