While the Right is in an uproar, screaming for news media to correct the “error” that the Right’s paranoid, eliminationist rhetoric might have been an influence in the Tucson shooting, as well as several others — this is what Orwell would call a “thought crime,” I believe — they are silent about some of the actual and verifiable lies reported in media everywhere.
For example, regarding the recent CBO report that said repealing health care reform would put a dent in the federal budget “in the vicinity of $230 billion” in the first decade — the GOP claimed that the HCR law will crank up federal spending to ruinous heights. And how did they figure that? By including spending that has nothing to do with the HCR law and which will happen anyway, even if it is repealed. For example, they are still trying to pin the cost of the “doc fix” on the HCR law, when it is really the fault of legislation passed back in 1997.
Anyway, House Republicans plan to put repeal of health care reform on the agenda for next week. It’s not going to happen, and not just because such a repeal (probably) would not pass in the Senate or survive a presidential veto. It’s not going to happen because the insurance industry doesn’t want it to happen. Industry bean counters have figured out that that 30 million new customers is nothing to sneeze at, which is what the individual mandate will give them.
So, the lobbyists have gone forth to tell
their lapdogs Republican legislators that they had better back off the individual mandate.
For the insurers, the worst-case scenario would be if the “guaranteed issue” provision — that insurers can’t refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions — remains in effect but the individual mandate is repealed. That really could be disastrous to the private insurance industry. So, that ain’t gonna happen.
Here’s the more interesting question, proposed by a diarist at Daily Kos (via Moonbat). They’ll keep the individual mandate, but eliminate …
… guarantee issue (cannot be denied insurance even at high cost due to pre-existing conditions) and community rating (price for insurance is not based on your individual risk, which is needed to make guarantee issue meaningful), the limits on medical expense ratio (insurance companies have to use the money to pay for health services, not overhead, marketing, profit and their own salary) and protection against rescission (dropping your coverage and refusing to pay once you get sick).
However, if the individual mandate remains but guaranteed issue and protection against rescission are dropped, it would leave millions of Americans with no way to purchase health insurance on the so-called “free market.” So either the individual mandate would have to be scrapped, or government would have to step in and provide a public “solution” — either make the “uninsurables” eligible for Medicaid or something similar, or set up a subsidized “public option” insurance program for people dumped by private industry. And that option (unlike the original one) would have to be subsidized by taxpayers up the wazoo because that risk pool would be filled almost entirely by higher-risk customers.
Bottom line — logically, the individual mandate and guaranteed issue cannot be separated; one can’t work without the other. That, of course, doesn’t mean the GOP won’t try to separate them, even if it means screwing the taxpayer. However, I agree the medical expense ratio limitation could be vulnerable.
Update: I forgot to mention — Republicans still have only the vaguest of notions of what they would provide in place of last year’s HCR law. Alex Seitz-Wald writes for ThinkProgress,
On Fox News Sunday today, conservative Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol could offer only the vaguest of promises about the replacement. When Fox News contributor Juan Williams challenged Kristol to explain â€œwhat are you going to replace it with?â€, Kristol told Williams not to worry, because there would be hearings in a few months and Republicans would probably come up with something by then. …
… Just days away from the repeal vote, House leaders have no coherent plan to address health care if their repeal effort succeeds. The Washington Postâ€™s Amy Goldstein reports that â€œaccording to GOP House leaders, senior aides and conservative health policy specialists, Republicans have not distilled their ideas into a coherent plan.
In other words, all those stacks of paper Republicans were waving around last spring and calling “their plan” were just props, as I said.
Update: See also “The Truth and Consequences of Repeal” and “‘Job-killing’ regulation? ‘Job-killing’ spending? Let’s kill this GOP canard.”