Thursday, November 14, 2013

Yet Another Effort To Undermine the Health Insurance Act

As I talked to my brother, Paul, Tuesday, the topic of the Obama Administration's health insurance bill came up and he launched into a tirade, telling me his insurance premium is increasing $6,000 a year for less coverage, which includes maternity care. He's 60.

Paul is Republican Lite (old line economic Republican with heavy leanings toward social justice) and he's pissed. He makes a good argument against ACA, one Democrats are afraid of: it's a Republican bill, reluctantly adopted by Democrats because their bill (single payer or Medicare for All) couldn't pass.

The last few congressional sessions have seen little effort by the Republican Party to introduce any legislation at all, save for that of the social engineering variety, especially bills negatively affecting women's health. But the ACA, introduced by Dems, is a copy of Mit Romney's health insurance legislation for Massachusetts. It's working well in Mass, but it's full of bugs on a national level, primarily because it is undercut at every step by the people who designed it in the first place, the GOP.

Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican in the House, has introduced a bill (the Repubs see an opening where they can subvert) that would "gut a major component of Obamacare," according to columnist Sam Stein (here).

The Democrats' "case being made against the Upton bill was multilayered. Not only would it allow current policyholders to continue their coverage, opponents argue, but it would allow new applicants to purchase that coverage as well -- all but encouraging healthy individuals to avoid the exchanges in favor of cheaper plans while leaving sick and older Americans in the newly created marketplace.

"The other major problem with the Upton bill that the aide noted was that it would extend this grandfather provision for just a year, meaning that people would be receiving cancellation notices in October of next year, a month before the 2014 elections. This, the aide noted, would be 'problematic.'"

In short, the Repub bill is a setup, not a sincere effort to repair the ACA. The Republican Party wants ACA to be the Democratic Party's Waterloo and will do anything to accomplish that, including subverting the opportunity for Americans to find a level of security in uncertain times. I am convinced that the online problems are a direct result of GOP sabotage and I think a large chunk of the population--including my brother--believe that to be the case.

We must step back from this impasse and refine the program so it will work, lest our health insurance problem simply grow to the point that is too big to succeed. I don't think Republicans will allow that to happen because it is not in their best interest as a party. It has nothing to do with serving the people, but the GOP has not considered that option in a long time.

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