Welcome to Buster's Blog

Irregular commentary on whatever's on my mind -- politics, sports, current events, and life in general. After twenty years of writing business and community newsletters, fifteen years of fantasy baseball newsletters, and two years of email "columns", this is, I suppose, the inevitable result: the awful conceit that someone might actually care to read what I have to say. Posts may be added often, rarely, or never again. As always, my mood and motivation are unpredictable.

Buster Gammons

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hey Republicans! Don't Eliminate Obamacare, Just Add Your "Plan" As Another Choice

For years now, Congressional Republicans have had an unnatural and unnecessary focus on killing Obamacare.  The could never get it done with Obama in the White House, but with their Useful Idiot just weeks away from taking office, they believe they can do it soon.  Hatchet-faced House Speaker Paulie Smallnuts is champing at the bit.

I won't go into all the reasons why repealing the Affordable Care Act has always been a horrible and hateful idea, mean, spiteful and just plain WRONG.  I've plowed that ground many times before.

I won't remind the Republicans that the majority of Americans do not want Obamacare to go away.

Instead, let's think about one of the Republicans pet "justifications" for wanting to blow up the ACA:  They want to offer better choice and options and lower costs to health care consumers.  (Never mind that the ACA already does that, plus expands access and prohibits insurance company abuses.)

So rather than repealing Obamacare outright, and bearing in mind that most people will still be covered via employer-based health insurance, not Obamacare, the Republicans ought to give us what they claim to be all about:  Alternatives, not elimination.  (I dare you, you R weenies!)

1.  Keep the ACA exactly as it is, with all the same rules, the usual insurance companies on the state and federal exchanges, and income-based premium subsidies.  (Thanks to Obamacare, there are more than 20 million more insured Americans now than before the law was enacted.  People who use Obamacare like it.  I'm one of them.)

2.  Add a government-run public option to the health care exchanges.  Such a federal plan would operate in all 50 states, and would offer some price competition to traditional for-profit insurance plans.  (Insurance companies hate this idea, which is precisely why it should be adopted.  Single-payer coverage is the ultimate aim, but for now is probably a bridge too far here in Idiot Nation.)

3.  With full disclosure, include the Republican-backed "replacement" plan on the exchanges:  heavily-underwritten policies, cheaper premiums but with more exclusions, with substandard catastrophic-only coverage and enormous deductibles, and some tax credits on premiums paid.  (Having to pay full premiums first and get tax credits later guarantees that very-low income folks who still don't qualify for Medicaid will not be able to afford health insurance.)

Let those of us not covered by traditional employer-based plans choose between Obamacare as we know it, and the turn-back-the-clock replacement the Republicans want to shove down our throats.  Yeah, that would be great.

Me too, Cuz.

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