The Republican Health Care Con

Jan 22, 2017

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Republicans say the Affordable Care Act provides health insurance that manages to be both lousy and expensive. Whatever the flaws of these policies, the new Trump administration is trying to pull off a con by offering Americans coverage that is likely to be so much worse that it would barely deserve the name insurance. It would also leave many millions without the medical care they need.

This reality became increasingly clear when President Trump’s choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, testified before a Senate committee last week. He looked pained as he described the terrible predicament of people who earned around $30,000 to $50,000 a year and had to deny “themselves the kind of care that they need” because they had Obamacare policies with deductibles of $6,000 to $12,000. Yet, earlier in the same hearing, Mr. Price extolled the virtues of policies that would be woefully inadequate — policies that cover medical treatment only in catastrophic cases. Such policies often have deductibles of around $14,000 for family coverage. This is simple hypocrisy. Condemn the policy you don’t like, propose something far worse as a replacement and claim that it is much better.

Mr. Price and Mr. Trump have recently said that their goal is to offer health care to many more people than are covered by the current health care law, which has driven the uninsured rate to historic lows. Mr. Trump went so far as to say he would provide “insurance for everybody” — something his press secretary, Sean Spicer, later walked back. But Mr. Price’s testimony and the legislation he introduced in the House, where until recently he was the Budget Committee chairman, show that the new administration will make decent health care less affordable and less accessible for most people. And Mr. Trump was already trying to undo parts of the A.C.A. through an executive order on Friday, just hours after being sworn in.


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13 comments on “The Republican Health Care Con

  • @OP – He looked pained as he described the terrible predicament of people who earned around $30,000 to $50,000 a year and had to deny “themselves the kind of care that they need” because they had Obamacare policies with deductibles of $6,000 to $12,000. Yet, earlier in the same hearing, Mr. Price extolled the virtues of policies that would be woefully inadequate — policies that cover medical treatment only in catastrophic cases. Such policies often have deductibles of around $14,000 for family coverage. This is simple hypocrisy. Condemn the policy you don’t like, propose something far worse as a replacement and claim that it is much better.

    That is pretty much a standard right-wing deception!

    It is the usual:- “We will cut budgets, and thus make things much better”, (- because of our ideological magical efficiency touch in areas we know nothing about)!

    The brexiteers are busy selling the UK public the same sort of barmy fairy-stories about “best deals for Britain” – if only they can keep their lack of a coherent plan hidden, and get everyone to follow their problematic ideology, and throw away the best deal we already have, and which is the best deal we are going to get!



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  • Arkrid,
    I’ve taken it upon myself to move a copy of your comment over here to this thread because I think it’s right smack on topic here and I think that your idea of Americans going abroad to get the health care that they need is worth talking about. From the 5 Reasons a Trump Administration… thread.

    Arkrid Sandwich #181
    Jan 22, 2017 at 3:59 am
    Now that sanctions have been lifted on Cuba I don’t see why Americans can’t go there now for their healthcare and drugs. As anyone who watched Sicko (Michael Moore’s documentary) knows the medical care there is excellent and 1/10th the cost of the USA. An influx of American customers would kickstart their economy too.

    This idea isn’t new. Apparently there are good health care facilities and staff that operate in other countries that affluent Americans have been accessing for quite some time. I know two Americans, friends, who have done this. One is an MIT professor whose late 20’s son came down with liver cancer and had no medical insurance. He offered to pay any amount of premiums but no insurance co. would touch the kid with a preexisting condition like that. Our friend and son took off to India and purchased a new liver plus install at 80,000 dollars and change. When they got back here no insurance co. would pay for aftercare and no doctor would take him on as a patient. A year later he was dead. Another young friend in need of several dental implants went to Belize and had them done there and also had a wonderful vacation all for a price that was much less than just the cost of implants alone here in the States.

    Cuba must be a good option for affordable health care for Americans. Close proximity to our shores. Price of living is cheap while staying there. As I live in the Northeast part of the country my first thoughts go to Canada for health care if things go badly wrong here. Maybe we’ll see a new line of business that involves shuttling people across borders to access good medical care that is actually affordable. There are people here in the NE who travel to Canada to buy prescription meds for bargain prices already.

    I want to point out that our Professor friend and others who make these treks overseas have the financial resources to do so. They are not the average American by any means. I am reminded also of the years before Roe v Wade, when women of means traveled to other places to have abortions or birth control that was not available to them in their home areas. Wealthy women also have utilized their connections to get abortions through friendly Doctors who were sympathetic to their needs. The daughters of the upper and upper middle class don’t have unwanted babies one after another who drag them right down into poverty. This is unacceptable. We throw money at the problem, the problem is solved, the sordid affair is swept under the rug and forgotten. That’s how it worked (works).

    My point is, if you have a few bucks to spare you can get what you want and need. If you’re struggling to pay for the roof over your head and food for your kids then you’re at the mercy of the predatory capitalists and doomed to a life of poverty and sickness and every other misery that citizens in other countries don’t even worry about.

    So yes, as I’ve said before, Americans have been conned bigtime. What’s it going to take for them to see that they are cheering for their own medical misery? A big propaganda campaign that’s what.

    From the article above:

    When it comes to health care, Mr. Price and other Republicans say their goal is to give people more choices. It is hard to argue against choice. But in the ideological world inhabited by Mr. Price, House Speaker Paul Ryan and many other Republicans, choice is often a euphemism for scrapping sensible regulations that protect people.

    Right! We should all have our radar up and running to detect this word “choice” when used by the reactionary forces that are trying to con us all. Healthcare “choice” as explained in this article and for some years now we’ve been hearing about school “choice” as well – a thinly veiled attempt to drain funding away from the public school system and funnel it straight into charter schools and straight into private religious schools that indoctrinate children.



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  • Laurie #2

    “Right! We should all have our radar up and running to detect this word “choice” when used by the reactionary forces that are trying to con us all. Healthcare “choice” as explained in this article and for some years now we’ve been hearing about school “choice” as well – a thinly veiled attempt to drain funding away from the public school system and funnel it straight into charter schools and straight into private religious schools that indoctrinate children.” —Laurie

    Right! Absolutely one-hundred percent right! But not everyone is as smart, progressive, and as informed as you – or Arkrid, Laurie. And this site, unfortunately, is not a microcosm of the country. There are millions and millions of irrational, malleable, and, yes, stupid people in this imperiled nation. What can be done when there are so many ignorant people out there who don’t understand what “choice” (in both these cases) really means? How do we reach them? Someone has to reach them! Mailer – and I have said this many times before – used to refer to the “stupid majority”; he wasn’t being mean; he was just stating an unpleasant fact and using plain English (and perhaps goading people). These Republicans, he said, probably get down on their knees and pray, every morning, that more than fifty percent of the people remain stupid.

    Assuming it’s about fifty-fifty right now, tell me how we can create and maintain an intelligent majority! So much at stake right now. I have been watching CNN with disgust, by the way. It’s entertainment! These stupid panels they have… It’s pernicious.



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  • My sister who used to live in the US and has just moved back down under was back over Christmas and broke her leg in 20 places in a skiing accident. There was some issue over her cover with her insurer over here fortunately even though she wasn’t on a plan that covered skiing as she had stated that they were skiing and they hadn’t asked her to upgrade her travel insurance they recognised that this was their fault and paid it. She had a nervous few days while they were figuring out how they’d pay a $70 000 dollar medical bill if the insurer didn’t pay. Had she had the same break over here she would have hopped out the hospital (in a cast) with a bill of ($0).

    Yes we are all taxed 2% of our taxable income (if you earn over a certain amount) If you earn over $90 000 a year you pay an additional surcharge so total amount is slightly higher. Realistically this might mean paying $1500 a year if you were on $120 000 per year, you don’t pay a surcharge if you have private cover, but I think I’d rather give my money to public hospitals even if I could afford it. If you are under $21 000 you pay nothing at all. So a similar break would be $0, no second mortgage, no bankruptcy, just fix you up can get back to work. It never ceases to amaze me how much of a scrooge America is with peoples health and education.



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  • Reckless Monkey #5
    Jan 23, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Yes we are all taxed 2% of our taxable income (if you earn over a certain amount) If you earn over $90 000 a year you pay an additional surcharge so total amount is slightly higher.

    Ah! But Americans spend 2% of GDP on the military, so mad generals and admirals can pose as super-men to cause mischief, political unrest, and civil wars, all over the planet!
    Think of the “beneficial value” to American and other country’s citizens from that!! 🙂



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  • LaurieB #2
    Jan 22, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Arkrid,
    I’ve taken it upon myself to move a copy of your comment over here to this thread

    Thank you Laurie.

    I cannot quite get my head round why Republicans are so against a single payer universal health care system. It works perfectly in every other country. Well not perfectly because no healthcare system has infinite resources but the sheer fact of being able to visit a doctor or hospital with no charge and no fear of it making you bankrupt, losing your house, or having to choose between which fingers you want sewn back on is so infinitely preferable to any alternative that only irrational people could be against it.

    The American healthcare system costs nearly 3 trillion dollars a year and gives worse life expectancies and medical outcomes than any other western democracy’s free system. It costs 18% of USA gdp which is nearly twice what other countries spend. A saving of 1 trillion dollars a year would be easy to achieve if the for profit motive and insurance companies were taken out of the equation. That trillion dollars could pay for incredible education, infrastructure or even the military for those who think it isn’t already big enough which it clearly is. You squander your lifeblood on a healthcare system that costs twice what it should and is crap to boot. It cripples your potential growth. It forces families into agonising choices. It destroys lives. It destroys health. It destroys hope.



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  • Alan4discussion #6
    Jan 23, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Ah! But Americans spend 2% of GDP on the military,

    Way more than that. Nearly double that by the official figures that are “on the books” and it’s not really certain how much of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were paid for “off the books”.



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #8
    Jan 23, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Way more than that. Nearly double that by the official figures that are “on the books” and it’s not really certain how much of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were paid for “off the books”.

    Yes – I should have said more than 2% of GDP.
    2% minimum is what they are demanding other NATO countries pay.

    Harvard estimates the Iraq and Afghan wars cost between $4 and $6 trillion – much of it borrowed – with interest payable by tax payers.



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  • There is an election coming up in two years and hopefully we can compromise the total support that Trump and co. enjoy right now with control of congress. Sad to say, we will end up with a Supreme court that is tilted toward the reactionaries’ interests and this is a big problem. More on this later. We need to concentrate on the House of Reps and the Senate right now. Between now and the midterm elections the Americans will have a clear picture of Trump and his intentions. Frightens me to say that right now.

    Where will we be (worldwide) in two years time? Right now the people who voted for this psycho are in full blown confirmation bias mode but how long can they hold onto that in the face of international chaos that we anticipate and the domestic pain that will follow from what he is aiming at right now? If Trump and Repubs have their way, then in two years time millions here will have lost their health insurance and realize the consequences of that.

    Twenty somethings that have always had insurance under their parents’ plan will lose it overnight and face the frightening reality of what it means to be at the mercy (total lack of it) of the money grubbing insurance companies. Profit is priority!!! Will these young people get out there and vote this time? Will they come out to the streets for visible protest and make themselves noticed? Based on what I saw the past days I’m encouraged. My own daughters came back from the Boston protest march greatly inspired and motivated to do more. We should keep it in mind that these young adults don’t remember the 60’s and 70’s here and everything that protest in the streets and on campuses accomplished. They don’t know what power they hold in their hands!! I’d like the images of these protests to be put out there directly for them to see how it was done back then. It worked.

    Let’s just hope that the press are up to the task of presenting full coverage to the public here of every lie and predatory policy that this bunch of thugs pushes through their selfish, ethically bankrupt Republican congress. Now we will really see how important is the free press, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly here in this place and at this time. I feel that these freedoms are bending under the strain of the situation here but this is the stuff that builds a resilience and this is a good thing. We are being tested right now.

    A friend of mine once told me that nobody appreciates what they have until the day that they lose it. Maybe that’s what it takes.



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  • Amazing. It was just explained to us in the press conference that a message will be sent out to the world that the US stands for protecting life and that means pre-born babies.

    I wonder what certain other people in this world will think in response to our statement of devotion to “life”. Maybe they will notice that we value certain life forms but find others to be irrelevant or even bothersome.



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  • There are few groups that vex me more than politicians and insurance companies. But, the mix of the two is almost too much for me to wrap my head around. A few things:
    1. be careful of “liking” the Democrat line of profiteering over the Republican line of profiteering. Trust in one thing, both sides are greedy fucks and lining their own pockets with kickbacks and corrupt “donations” from the insurance companies who stand to idly sit there and rake in BILLIONS. Just because the policy of your “pet” political party may seem to benefit you and those who you associate with, said system may NOT be what benefits most citizens or benefits most citizens IN NEED.

    having said this, it is extraordinarily hard to put any credence or stock into any for-profit system that the republicans dream up.
    I am on the border of Pennsylvania and Delaware and sincerely can project a time in the next decade when Pa. “runs out of” obstetricians. Our citizens will have to travel out of state to have their kids delivered. This is because our corrupt money grabbing thugs have allowed insurance companies to raise the malpractice insurance on OB to literally fantastic heights. Our OB/GYN specialists are a thing of the past — they’ve either moved to practice elsewhere, or dropped the OB. Point being, the situation LaurieB has reposted (Akrid’s great points) is already in motion on a smaller scale in within the states — let alone among countries).

    They are fucking this up too. And it is solely because of money. Shame. One thing trump is right about is we need a complete shake up of our politics. IMO, you could easily drop every single sitting representative in the house and senate and replace them with homeless folks and get as goo or a better product for the American people. —- Oh, if you stipulate that they only payment these people will get for performing their jobs is the salary and not crazy shit tons of money delivered to their door by the lobbies. What a mess.



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