Free Markets, Free People

GOP’s plan for health care is rubbish

The GOP’s “Pledge” health care section is, well, screwed up.

Big time.

For instance, on the one hand they say this:

The American people wanted one thing out of health care reform: lower costs,which President Obama and Democrats in Washington promised, but did not deliver. Instead of expanding the size and scope of government with more debt, higher taxes,and burdensome mandates, Americans are calling for reforms that lower costs for families and small businesses, increase access to affordable, high-quality care and strengthen the doctor-patient relationship. We have a plan to do just that.

First the premise – anyone, do you remember Americans “calling for reforms that lower costs for families and small business?” Yeah, neither do I. I certainly remember a whole raft of politicians making their inept handling of government run insurance systems like Medicare and Medicaid and running up the cost of health care seem like Americans were calling for that.

What, in fact, Americans were calling for was for government to back off and spend less. But now, it appears, even the GOP has swallowed the poison premise. They have bought into the “need” for health care reform and so entitle their section on it “repeal and replace”.

Replace? Where did “replace” come from? Was anyone out in flyover land talking about replacing one bad government program with another? I certainly don’t remember it.

And zero in on the word “mandates” in the cite above. I believe the word “burdensome” is used in front of it and the implication is these “burdensome mandates” will actually increase both government size and scope as well as cost.

So what do the Republicans put forward as a part of their plan?

Ensure Access for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions

Health care should be accessible for all,regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses. We will expand state high-risk pools, reinsurance programs and reduce the cost of coverage. We will make it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, eliminate annual and lifetime spending caps, and prevent insurers from dropping your coverage just because you get sick. We will incentivize states to develop innovative programs that lower premiums and reduce the number of uninsured Americans.

Is that a fact?

Back to the premise they’ve bought into – if “Americans” were calling for health care reform that “lowered costs”, can anyone tell me how this does that?

Who is going to pay for these “mandates” on insurance companies? Why everyone is. This is a universal mandate which will require everyone with an insurance policy to kick in and fund health care costs with no spending caps.

It.Will.Not.Lower.Costs.

It will drive them up!

This isn’t “access to health care”, this is an unlimited license to spend other people’s money via a legal mandate on insurance companies that would essentially require them to do so.

They supposedly spent a long time putting this together and “listening” to “Americans”. Sounds more like they sat in a few of Obama’s campaign stops and town halls to me.

It’s rubbish.

~McQ

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25 Responses to GOP’s plan for health care is rubbish

  • “Health care should be accessible for all,regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses.”

    Health care is accessible, just not at the price many people want to pay. Here we go again with reality based examples. If my house is in a flood plain (past illnesses), then it will cost more to insure (medical insurance premiums). If my house is currently burning (pre-existing condition), then it will cost more to insure (medical insurance premiums). Why this is so mysterious to Democrats is beyond comprehension.

    • TheOldManHealth care is accessible, just not at the price many people want to pay.

      Bingo.  BOTH parties are trying to create the impossible, i.e. a system that will allow everybody to have health care that won’t cost them “too much”.  Who decides what that magic price tag is?  Politicians and bureaucrats.  What the GOP will have to try to sell at the end of the day is essentially no different from ObamaCare: a big government, intrusive plan that will drive up costs and limit access in the interests of being “fair” to a handful of people who can’t afford everything that they need or else who are insanely jealous of the handful who can afford everything that they want.

      Health care should be accessible for all,regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses.

      Health care IS accessible to all.  It just may not cost what they are willing (or can afford) to spend on it.  In other words, health care is not AFFORDABLE to all.  I think that misusing the term “accessible” is a deliberate effort to deceive, which doesn’t give me much confidence that the GOP is at all sincere.

      We will expand state high-risk pools, reinsurance programs and reduce the cost of coverage.

      Um, the STATES should do the first thing, and I’m not sure that it’s possible to do the last without (wait for it) rationing.  Health care can be QUITE cheap… if it consists of nothing more than giving people aspirins, bandaids, and a full-color pamphlet, “Why I Don’t Want To Be A Burden To Anybody”.

      We will make it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, eliminate annual and lifetime spending caps, and prevent insurers from dropping your coverage just because you get sick.

      In other words, we will force those greedy insurance companies (we hate them ALMOST as much as the democrats do, you know) to cover you – to spend MILLIONS, if necessary – no matter how obvious it is that you will NEVER pay enough in premiums to even begin to make it worthwhile for them to do so.  In other words, we will force the insurance companies to become charities… just like the democrats want to do.

      We will incentivize states to develop innovative programs…

      In other words, MORE money going from DC to the various state capitals.

      It would be interesting to get Boehner, McConnell and the rest of the GOP leadership to explain how what they want to do is really fundamentally different than what The Dear Golfer has already done.  I suggest that the only real difference is that the GOP bill might require slightly fewer dead trees to print.  Otherwise, it looks like more of the same.

      Bah.

  • “Why this is so mysterious to Democrats is beyond comprehension.”
     
    Seems like it’s a mystery to the Washington fortified political class all together.  Why am I not surprised.
    Here we go again.    “As Republicans, we promise you that your train ride to hell will be a nice leisurely run, not this express mumbo jumbo the Democrats are trying to foist off on you!:

  • Here’s unintended consequences for you. All I want is a high deductible plan with an HSA so I can self insure. Both my wife and I have pre-existing conditions (hers was only a diagnosis of being at risk for a pre-existing condition.) Since the state we live in has a high risk pool, private insurers just kick us to the curb. So I get  to pay 18 months of COBRA coverage at 1300+ per month just so I can then sign up for the state’s plan. Yay.
    My biggest beef with insurance companies is that I go from insurable to high risk just because I change my job. If they would just let the companies compete across state lines, I’m sure a market solution would come to this. Till then…..
     

    • I’m with you on portability and selling insurance across state line and I agree that given the chance, the market would indeed come up with a reasonable solution – after all, it is in their best financial interest to do so.

      • If that’s what you want, then the constitutional solution is to effectuate the commerce clause–and for it’s original reason, yet–and void those laws which permit insurance companies to be restricted from selling across state lines.  That would be a measure of replacing, wouldn’t it?  Non-monetary damages for malpractice should be capped at some low multiple factor of the monetary damages…that would also be a measure of replacing.
        I don’t see anywhere in the passages you’ve quoted, that they intend to replace it with anything like what Obama did.

        • Replacing it? No. It would be something completely new which could be done in a single issue law. You don’t have to reform health care to allow insurance to be sold across state lines.

          And in the passages I quoted, the “no spending cap, can’t turn anyone away” is exactly what the law says now.

          • “You don’t have to reform health care to allow insurance to be sold across state lines.”
            Sure you do, that’s exactly what it is if you do it.
            “And in the passages I quoted, the “no spending cap, can’t turn anyone away” is exactly what the law says now.”
            It’s what the law said before, so it’s exactly what you claim you want as far as that goes.
            And I think the bulk of your argument is quite wrong, people do want healthcare to be reformed, they just don’t want it done the way the progressives want to do it.  They do want it to be cheaper, and they do want it to be more accessible/portable.
            Personally, I think it should show up in it’s entirety on a W2 and be taxed.  It always was a tax dodge that it was a “benefit”, and not pay.

          • I don’t know what you’re smokin’ these days, Tom, but your reply makes absolutely no sense.

      • Mr. McQuain,
         <i>I agree that given the chance, the market would indeed come up with a reasonable solution – after all, it is in their best financial interest to do so.</i>

        Define reasonable, please. Is it where the company makes only a 25% profit and denys coverage for the slightest, perhaps one iota of a problem on paperwork? Is it like the poster above, the exorbitant rates for simple coverage? 

         My experience with health insurance companies can be summed up thusly: suck out as much of an exorbitant premuium as you can, and pay out as little as you can, and deny as much coverage as possible. I’d really like someone to show me how the magic of the free market will solve this problem in a way that is affordable for people. Because the only financial interest the health insuranace companies have is, again, maximum proft and minimal claims payouts. It is NOT in their interest, as you assert, to cover people at a reasonable rate and pay claims.  Until said health insurance companies demonstrate this in a consistent, legal manner, public anger and political interference will continue.

         Please note – I don’t want the Feds involved. But to airily claim the market will magically handle this without any level of oversight and/or regulation is not grounded in reality.

        • So where do the markets come from if not from entrepreneurs who see opportunities that others don’t see or think don’t provide the profit they wish?

          Right now, that “opportunity” isn’t available. And that’s not an “airy” claim. That’s reality.

          • One market that will NOT be served is people with existing conditions. No one will bother to think of a way to insure them as the profit won’t be enough. After all, why risk your money on people you KNOW will need expensive healthcare? I don’t see any entrepenuers doing it. Otherwise, they would have already done so. And that’s the reality for a lot of people.

          • Portability addresses that problem. You do that by opening up insurance purchases across state lines where consumers can buy competitive products outside the small pool their employer’s headcount represents.

  • While I don’t think Da Pledge is BAD, it sure isn’t RIGHT.
    It seems a triumph of polling over principles, as this “pre-existing condition” crap illustrates.
    What is curious to me is that you have people in the blogosphere who called anyone even PUBLISHING factual news about O’Donnell dirty names who are NOW calling anyone who does not think Da Pledge is the NEW Declaration the same names.
    Group-think and thought policing are DANGEROUS, no matter who’s doing them.

  • Just what exactly is the difference between this and the Obama plan? Both of them promise more stuff for less cost, and both of them are full of sh**.

    You can always count on the Republicans to step on their d**ks. They are indeed the ‘stupid party’.

  • As libertarians we live often in a world of hope. Hope that others will be rational and embrace the truths that we have over the evils of big government. 

    Unfortunately this is make beleive. The reason that the Republicans are willing to try to fit insurance for high risk groups into an attempt at some sort of market reform is because it is popular. It is what the people want.

    I suppose they could get up on a soapbox and tell everyone that they are stupid and that it will cost a lot, but then they would not get elected.

    In reality it is quite possible to have this and other things that people desire, and still come out with something that is far better, cheaper, and more market oriented than what the Democrats gave us.

    But that is only because Obamacare is so damn bad.  

    As I get older I am less likely to tilt at windmills and be more satisfied with scraps.  It is just reality.

  • Look, as a fairness issue, if someone comes down with a genetic disease, or whatever, I think most people view it as an unlucky lottery draw, and would like to help. Why not simply subsidize healthcare (not health insurance) for those folks with certain serious pre-existing conditions? That would lower the cost of true insurance but make sure someone who got “unlucky” is semi-cared for.

  • “That would lower the cost of true insurance but make sure someone who got “unlucky” is semi-cared for.”
    Keep that part of it at the state level and I can live with it.

    • Fair enough. I even get queasy about that, as you know they start to expand what’s “serious” from day 1.

  • I think people are sensitive to the cost of healthcare.  I think its a mistake to dismiss that.  And although that’s in the Republican’s rhetoric, I don’t see anything to address it.  And nothing in Obamacare did either.
     
    People are also concerned about pre-existing condition issue in that they don’t want to be job locked because they have one.   So in the respect that people already on one plan would like to be able to port their coverage over to a new employer, I believe you would find popular support for that.  The democrat version, where you can start paying for insurance when you get sick or upgrade coverage when you get sick actually has little support.

  • Bruce, this is the only part of your quote which sounds to me like they are saying they will spend money.
    “We will incentivize states to develop innovative programs that lower premiums and reduce the number of uninsured Americans.”
    This assumes of course the incentive is a carrot and not a stick.  If it’s a federal penalty on the states that mandate cadillac plans and penalize high deductible, low premium plans, then even that quotes doesn’t mean additional federal spending at all.
    And you seem quite hung up on the word reform, as if it only ever means more spending.  Obamacare was reform, repealing it would be reform, doing something that actually works would be reform.  Any big change is reform.  It doesn’t mean spending more money.
     
    “I don’t know what you’re smokin’ these days, Tom, but your reply makes absolutely no sense.”
    Itemize what isn’t clear and I’ll explain.  What you’re saying makes no sense, Bruce, you’re claiming people were happy with healthcare laws the way they were.  They weren’t.  They don’t want Obamacare, but that doesn’t mean they were happy then, it just means they’re less (far less) happy now.

    • Show me where people “weren’t happy with health care laws as they were”, Tom. I think that’s where we differ. If you read carefully what people were saying before ObamaCare, they said that while others may be unhappy with their coverage, the vast majority were fine with theirs. That was where the lies first started … “if you like your insurance, if you like your doctor …”. And, if you remember correctly, this was all started as a supposed “reform” to insure the uninsured.

      Point out to me where anyone in any majority said, “hey, let’s reform the whole system”. They didn’t – ever.

      You want repeal and reform? Take it back to where it was when it was all passed (repeal) and fix medicare and medicaid (reform).