House Republicans Prepare the Next Obamacare Repeal Bill, in Disguise

News & Politics

The Republican House is gearing up for their latest version of Obamacare repeal, allowing people to keep their crappy health insurance that doesn't provide actual health coverage. That will be the culmination of some five hearings they're planning for the week, none of which will include discussion of an alternative health care plan that would solve the problems of million of uninsured and of rising costs in the health care system. Because this Republican Congress isn't interested in fixing things.

That's going to be a problem for them, and soon. Because while the sign up process for health insurance under the law has been a big problem, people are still signing up and many more will before the end of the year. They're already very much enjoying the benefits that kicked in already—no more preexisting conditions for children, young adult children being able to stay on their parents' plans, no additional costs for a whole raft of preventive services. And for millions more beginning in January, basic fairness. The vote House Republicans will be taking this week won't be characterized as a repeal vote, but that's what it is: an an effort to start unraveling the law. Brian Beutler:

Like many other Republican attacks on Obamacare, this one is subterfuge — a proposal that sounds great but in reality would plant the seeds of the law’s destruction. The real goal is to deny Obamacare marketplaces across the country the critical mass and demographic balance they’ll need to function properly. But it’s dressed up in focus-grouped legislation called the Keep Your Health Plan Act. [...]

Republicans are selling it as a fix that will allow people whose insurance policies have been canceled to keep their old plans. In reality it would allow carriers to rescind cancellation notices and honor existing policies outside of the exchanges for another year. That’s easier said than done. It would be a huge logistical challenge. But to the extent that it’s possible, it would create an incentive for insurers to extend only plans for low risk beneficiaries who might be disinclined to enter the new system.

That undercuts the very basis of the law, that insurers have to take all comers. And you know what undercutting the basis of the law would do—the same as repeal. Which would mean taking away the health insurance of the hundreds of thousands already signed up for the Medicaid expansion under the law, and the tens of thousands who've already purchased plans on the exchanges. It would also take away all the benefits that have already kicked in for millions, from reduced drug prices for seniors to extremely ill children.

Republicans do want all of that to go away. They want the status quo health system in which millions are losers in the health care game because of pure chance to persist. They want to pit the relative handful of people who are pissed off because they have to change plans against the millions who haven't been able to get health insurance at all. Because if Obamacare works, and millions of people sign up for affordable, quality insurance in the next several months, the GOP's political goose is cooked. Those four dozen repeal votes and this last ditch effort are going to be even more damaging to Republicans than they already have been.

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