Swampcare: The Great Betrayal

Erick Erickson,

Since 2010, Republicans have repeatedly promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which is now universally referred to as Obamacare. Last week, Republicans finally unveiled their alternative to Obamacare, and it is best described as swampcare. Far from repealing Obamacare or replacing Obamacare, it only tweaks the Affordable Care Act and does nothing to drain the swamp.

Obamacare has never been popular. It has never polled above 50 percent. Democrats have invented a host of reasons why it polls so terribly, including that people just do not realize Obamacare is the Affordable Care Act. It is simply not popular. More people were hurt by Obamacare than helped. It created a massive new and costly entitlement and expanded the least efficient, least effective existing entitlement program — Medicaid.

For all of its flaws, and the flaws outweigh the benefits, the Democrats included mechanisms to keep government spending on Obamacare from exploding in the first several years of the legislation’s enactment. Many of those provisions are the massively unpopular parts of the legislation. They include employer mandates on providing insurance, individual mandates forcing people to buy insurance, and taxes on generous healthcare plans.

In enacting their swampcare alternative, Republicans will scuttle all the things people have hated about Obamacare, but they will not restructure the legislation to save money. The Republicans’ plan will wind up costing taxpayers even more. On top of that, they are not really even getting rid of the individual mandate. Under swampcare, instead of paying the government a fine for failing to get insurance, people will pay insurance companies a penalty if they cancel insurance then get new insurance later. The constitutionality of that provision alone is dubious.

schumerswindle_small Swampcare: The Great Betrayal Government

Swampcare violates core Republican promises going back to 2010. Republicans have taken to noting how many times they have voted to repeal Obamacare, but those times did not really count and they know it. In 2015, Republicans structured a comprehensive plan to roll back Obamacare. Every Republican supported that legislation. Now many of the same Republicans who supported the 2015 plan are refusing to support it again. They know that now it could become law.

The reality is that if Republicans pass swampcare they will be breaking all their promises made in the last seven years. If they do nothing, they will also be breaking all their promises. But if the Republicans do nothing they will not have to own the collapse of Obamacare. The system will collapse. The spending will eventually explode. The insurance companies involved are fleeing Obamacare. None of that is the Republicans’ fault. But the moment they pass swampcare it all becomes their fault and Democrats can abdicate responsibility.

Republicans promised to repeal Obamacare and President Trump promised to drain the swamp. Swampcare makes the whole mess worse. Ironically, President Trump is president because his voters had enough of the Republican Party. They had enough of the leadership of the party and its pundit cheerleaders who supported every Republican expansion of government and every too clever by half compromise with Barack Obama.

Now those very same establishment politicians and their pundit cheerleaders are rushing to claim swampcare is the best thing ever. President Trump’s supporters are outraged and recognize the breach of trust. But President Trump himself appears to be going along with the GOP plan.

President Trump’s long time supporters hope this is just the opening salvo and the art of the deal. They presume he will take a strong stand against swampcare if it does not change. They better hope so. If swampcare continues the government takeover of healthcare will escalate and costs will sore. It will all be on President Trump.

Republicans are whispering that swampcare is only the first salvo. If they pass this, they will pass tax reform. If they pass tax reform, they will fix everything. Republicans always tell voters about the next fight hoping they are distracted from the present. We should, this time, focus specifically on the present. Since 2010, the GOP has pledged to repeal Obamacare and now, in the present, we know they have been lying the whole time.

  • DrArtaud

    Healthcare. Sheesh. I retired, needed to buy my own plan. Not only is health insurance not affordable for the sick, but it’s not accessible. I visited the E.R. the other night, (not hive related), they were willing to keep me, but they use a grading system to help predict future events. I rated a two. Three or more need to be admitted. Two needs to be admitted if there is a likelihood that the person won’t aggressively follow through with subsequent testing and visits to the primary care doctor. I’ve had one of the three tests suggested done. The second is being treated like a ping pong ball. The insurance won’t approve it without the primary care doctor approval. The primary care doctor won’t approve it until she sees the E.R. report, which had not been made available yet early yesterday. No one at my primary care doctor suggested I visit my doctor there, though that was part of the 3 tests and subsequent visit to my primary care doctor suggested by the E.R. Doctor. (I’ve just been told I need to schedule to see my Doctor. OK, I’ll give them that, but there is urgency, I assumed they’d make provisions. Mea culpa).

    To compound things, my “event” happened 3 hours after I took; as instructed to by my allergist; yet another drug for the Chronic Hives I have. Weeks after starting on twice the suggested dose of a prescription antihistamine, taking Zantac (150 mg) twice a day (it blocks Histamine receptors in the skin and stomach), and being put on Singulair (an oral asthma medicine that helps some hive patients), one of the doctors in the group that I spoke to said I should see my Neurologist to be sure taking antihistamines is OK. They’re supposed to look over your medical history and medication list before prescribing.

    I suggest American medicine is in trouble on two parts.

    1. Bureaucracy - I declined an expensive test that likely would not have shown anything. The E.R. was terribly busy that night. This beautiful hospital receives tons of overdoses and police escorted criminals. As I sat, listening to the screams of what likely was an overdose patient, I spent some time on my smart phone reading on my malady. I’ve had it twice before, this time seemed different, not as severe, but different. I learned enough to have a cogent conversation with the E.R. doctor, and he agreed that I could leave and aggressively pursue the requisite tests. I’ll need an expensive one, but why pay for one that night that was convenient but likely wouldn’t show anything, with an expensive test the following morning as an inpatient? I saved the insurance, and myself, money. Why have they made the follow-up tests so hard to get, why doesn’t the primary care doctor take this seriously?

    If you want to save money, and outpatient care / outpatient testing is an option, why wouldn’t the insurance company and providers have ways to expedite this? My allergist has an emergency contact number. But most doctor’s offices, when you call off hours, tell you to go to the E.R., how is that saving any money?

    2. Insurance. Trump’s HHS Secretary said obamacare is a card without services. Significantly he is correct. With high deductibles and copays, many people aren’t getting the tests and care they need. I agree that obamacare should never have existed. Alas, it does. Despite the democrats being solely to blame for it, America has a rich tradition of taking Republican issues; like ending slavery and promoting civil rights; and giving democrats credit for it. With a Republican and Trump inimical media, they’d do the same thing now.

    In my opinion:

    1. Eliminate the fine for not buying insurance.

    2. The increase in premiums to anyone that has a lapse in coverage is OK by me. Trump’s HHS Secretary said people were gaming obamacare, paying for 9 months of insurance and getting 12 months of coverage. Under Trump’s proposal, you can lapse for 63 days before incurring the penalty.

    3. There is no reason why Canadians purchase identical drugs at a fraction of the cost. There needs to be a critical examination of medical costs, including prescriptions. If anyone hasn’t watched and read about Martin Shkreli, this is why reliance on corporations to self regulate is not going to work. If sales are permitted across state lines, there will be collusions and acquisitions to reduce the savings to consumers and increase profit to the insurance companies.


    Martin Shkreli pleads the Fifth, then tweets about ‘imbeciles’ in Congress

    Embattled drug entrepreneur Martin Shkreli — who vigorously defended his decision to hike the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 to $750 — suddenly went silent Thursday at a Congressional committee, smirking and grinning instead of answering questions.

    Members of Congress launched into fiery lectures directed at Shkreli, whose previous company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, came under scrutiny when it raised the price of Daraprim more than 5,000%. The pill is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that afflicts people with weakened immune systems, such as those with AIDS and pregnant women.

    “Drug company executives are lining their pockets at the expense of some of the most vulnerable families in our nation,” U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said. “It’s not funny, Mr. Shkreli. People are dying and they’re getting sicker and sicker.”

    The boyish-faced Shkreli sat quietly at the witness table, clasping his hands tightly and slowly rubbing his fingers together as he was lectured. He smirked several times and appeared on the verge of laughter at one point when Cummings was speaking.

    After the hearing, he removed any doubt about his feelings. “Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government,” Shkreli said on Twitter….

  • Dr Studebaker

    The shape of things Right NOW ! All kinds of urgent care centers popping up every where ……Where anybody and everybody with at least $150.00 are accepted waiting to be looked at prescribed and sent on there way in under 30 minutes once you get past the wait time Oh Yeah are new choices those of us with out health coverage ! THANKS BIG GOVT