Monday, July 3, 2017

Meanwhile, In Washington...

Meanwhile as everyone is looking on in horror at Trump and his garbage fire of a weekend, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans like Ted Cruz are quietly moving ahead with taking away health care from tens of millions.

Senate Republicans have asked the Congressional Budget Office to analyze Sen. Ted Cruz's proposal for further health insurance deregulation, and they've asked for one estimate of a health care bill that includes his changes and one that doesn't, according to a GOP aide familiar with the discussions.

The bottom line: That would give Republicans a better idea of the impact of his proposal, which would let insurers sell health plans that don't meet Affordable Care Act standards — including, potentially, waiving the pre-existing condition rules — as long as they also sell plans that comply with all of the ACA insurance regulations.

What to watch: Among the issues CBO would have to weigh: would the non-ACA plans be cheaper, what would happen to premiums in the ACA plans, and what would happen to the cost of federal subsidies.

As Jack Moore at GQ points out, having the ACA gutted of all measures to stabilize the market would be a disaster.

On first blush this seems great. More options! As long as there's one plan that has Obamacare protections, then there can be skimpy cheap plans. Everyone wins! Except... this is not how the health care industry works. Health care premiums only stay low if healthy people buy into the system; that's the reason the individual mandate exists. You need the pool of insured people to be balanced between healthy and sick.

What this plan would do is lead to sick people buying the Obamacare-compliant packages because they need the protections, while healthy people would buy the cheaper plans because they don't need them in the moment. This would lead to the Obamacare-compliant plans featuring giant premiums to offset the unbalanced pool. Put simply: This will not actually save those protections, it will just appear to save those protections. Ted Cruz is acting like this is a genius policy move when it's actually just a crock of shit.

But the real issue is this allows Senate Republicans to blame states, insurance companies,  insurance regulators, governors, basically anyone who's not a Senate Republican for the coming disaster.  "We gave you the options.  You failed to use them correctly.  You can't blame us."

And then the stage is set for full repeal.

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