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BrundleFly or Hillarycare: The sad choice for Graham-Cassidy

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The other day, I wrote a long-winded defense of Graham-Cassidy. In response, JD Rucker, the EIC of this site, wrote a short rebuttal. These two pieces illustrate the upside-down nature of this bill.

In short: people who believe Graham-Cassidy should not be passed argue on the basis of it actually being implemented. People who argue that we should pass Graham-Cassidy do so on the basis that it cannot possibly be implemented.

They’re both right

If Graham-Cassidy is implemented as the bill is written, no politician could ever claim that it will solve Obamacare’s problems. All it does is intensify them and allow healthy individuals to go without insurance or join health cost sharing organizations. (Disclosure: I am a member of Medi-Share, a Christian medical expense sharing ministry that’s exempt from Obamacare.)

Moving the money to the state level as Medicaid block grants without gutting the Medicaid expansion, the coverage requirements or the heinous recordkeeping and administrative load of Obamacare is worse than living with the current, mostly-implemented and known system. States will not have enough time to enact enabling legislation, therefore by the 2020 deadline, many states will simply fall in a huge crack or the federal government will have to grant en-masse extensions. Remember, we went through this with Obamacare, which took until 2014 to fully swing into action, and by 2016, 19 states still hadn’t really done anything to get people off the federal exchanges.

Supporters say this is a feature, not a bug.

Burn the ships!

We’re passing Graham-Cassidy so we can be like Cortés in 1519. I love this story.

In 1519, Captain Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz to begin his great conquest. Upon arriving, he gave the order to his men to burn the ships. As I imagine it, someone then laughed and Cortés promptly thrust his sword into the man’s chest. After which, the rest proceeded to get hammered on rum by the glow of the blaze. Almost like a bloodier version of The Pirates of the Caribbean with Cortés played by Johnny Depp.

The lesson, presented by business leadership coach Travis Robertson is: Retreat is easy when you have the option.

There is no political body in America more in need of a swift sword smack in the behind than the United States Congress. It is in a permanent state of retreat, unless it comes to spending your money and mine on endless projects in this district and that district to make a few people wealthy and the rest of us feel good about getting something for nothing. Most of us just pay and get nothing anyway, then go about electing the same people over and over again.

There is only one argument for Graham-Cassidy. Passing it destroys Obamacare with no way to go back. Passing Graham-Cassidy burns the ships and cuts off retreat.

Brundlefly

Passing Graham-Cassidy will force Republicans to either embrace Bernie-style single-payer or proceed to a fuller repeal of the destroyed, mutated Obamacare-monster. Like the 1986 horror classic “The Fly,” the Graham-Cassidy fusion teleporter only works one way. There’s no going back. And like the BrundleFly-Telepod monster, the result cannot survive.

There will be no choice but to destroy it or it will self-destruct before it ever sees the light of day.

Or do nothing and have Hillarycare

The other option is to not pass Graham-Cassidy and do nothing. Just embrace Obamacare and let all states adopt it. We could tweak coverages or eliminate some waste and inefficiency from the program. President Trump could re-enable the IRS (still led by Obama appointee John Koskinen) to enforce the fines for not purchasing coverage. Congress could make some allowances for conscience in health sharing ministries. But that’s it.

We could make Obamacare work, such as it is, and try to keep health care costs from ballooning further within that framework. But it means more government control, more cronyism, less small government, state-controlled commerce. It also means higher taxes for everyone.

In a nutshell, it would be what Hillary Clinton would do. We’d have Hillarycare.

Congress won’t advance when it can retreat

The one truth here is that Congress will never advance when it can retreat. It will never take on anything for which it has to later be responsible without someone standing up behind them holding a sword. It will never act on its own unless leadership does what Cortés did and make an example of someone. Until we can get some leadership, or Trump actually begins to lead on health care, our only options are between BrundleFly and Hillarycare, either of which could lead to single-payer.

The solution is not one we can achieve with this iteration of Congress. It will take something else from outside.

I say burn the ships and force the issue, but others say it’s too risky to deal with Brundlefly. Sadly, both answers are probably right.

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