A Stain on the GOP that even the strongest “detergent” will not be able to Remove

Cal Thomas,

Readers of a certain age may recall ads for Ivory Soap, which claimed to be 99 and 44/100ths percent pure. If the soap could have reached 100 percent purity, the company would likely have made the claim.

Purity, apparently, is what some conservative Republicans are demanding in a health insurance bill, which likely will be voted on this week, unless it is held back because Speaker Paul Ryan doesn’t think it has enough votes to pass. Supporters of the evolving House bill emphasize that this is a three-step process designed to get what virtually all conservatives want, a more cost-effective health plan, only they can’t muster enough votes, especially in the Senate. Some conservatives are taking an all-or-nothing approach, which is likely to guarantee they will get nothing.

Cynics (imagine that in Washington), apparently, want Obamacare to collapse so that they can blame Democrats. That might be a political winner for Republicans, but it risks leaving millions of people, especially the poor, in a gap between Medicaid and other health benefits and whatever comes next.

During an interview in his office, Vice President Mike Pence told me, “The president is determined to keep his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.” Due to what he called “the arcane rules of the Senate on budgeting bills, it likely will take two pieces of legislation to do that, and a significant amount of administrative action by (HHS) Secretary Tom Price. We really believe a combination of those efforts by this spring will repeal Obamacare once and for all and replace it with health care reform that gives people the freedom to choose whether to have health insurance that lowers (its) cost for every American and creates a national marketplace where people have the ability to buy health insurance the way they buy car and life insurance, and gives the states the ability to improve Medicaid with state-based innovation and reform.”

Pence calls Medicaid “deeply flawed” and notes “many doctors and hospitals don’t take Medicaid patients anymore.” What about the politics of this, I ask, noting the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that millions will lose their health insurance under this reform?

gop-fail-off-cliff_small A Stain on the GOP that even the strongest "detergent" will not be able to Remove Politics

“CBO was wrong about the numbers of Obamacare,” he says, “and we think they’re wrong about this plan. CBO projected last year there would be another 8 million people covered, so we take issue with their estimate.”

Pence mentions what he calls “the fundamental difference” between Obamacare and the president’s proposal. Under Obamacare, he says, the government ordered everyone to have health insurance and the exchanges forced people to pay for services they would never use. The president’s goal, he says, is to expand choice and allow people to choose policies — or not — tailored to their needs. The poor would get tax credits to help them purchase policies, should they choose to.

“Amendments” to the House bill, Pence says, “Will be forthcoming” in an effort to address some of the concerns of conservatives who oppose the current measure.

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial gets the politics right. “If conservatives fumble this repeal and replace moment,” WSJ writes, “they won’t get another chance. And they’ll have squandered their best opening in a generation to control the size and scope of the federal Leviathan.”

If a Republican congressional majority and a Republican president can’t use their power of persuasion to convince enough members of their party to repeal and replace Obamacare, it will leave many people wondering why they are needed.

Failure to at least take the first step in replacing a deeply flawed, government-mandated insurance program will leave a stain on the Republican Party that even the strongest and purest “detergent” will not be able to remove.

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  • DrArtaud

    The following table is plastered all over the place, and Sean Spicer was asked the very same scenario I describe during the Press Briefing, and recent articles said that many Congressmen object to the extremely high costs for the elderly.

    I posted the following and asked for credible links to premium costs under the Ryan plan and have yet to have someone provide a link that disputes it. The only catch is the following is predicated on 2026 rates, yet that’s consistent with the article I read yesterday about concerns for the rising cost for the elderly, $14,000/yr, rising sharply from the current $1,700/yr.

    Under obamacare, insurers can charge elderly 3X younger rates, under Ryancare 5X.

    In the typical fashion of Republicans, older, low income people will likely not be able to afford the plan.

    The Republican Plan, with Tax Credits, will take a 64 year old making $26,500/yr from paying 1700/yr under obamacare to $14,600 under the Republicans plan. For that 64 year old at $26,500/yr, the Republican plan premium without tax credits costs $19,500 compared to $15,300 under obamacare. obamacare provides $13,600 in tax credits, the Republican plan $4,900. Anybody have information that refutes this?

    Table: Based on 2026 Rates, obamacare Costs vs Ryan Care Costs