This is so simple, I could probably squeeze the premise into a Tweet. But I won’t.
This initial offering of the Obamacare replacement by Paul Ryan and the House GOP is mostly a mess with a few good things to cover up the bad. There are plenty of colorful analogies I could use, but the closest to reality is taking an old, moldy cake (Obamacare), slicing off some (but not all) of the visible mold, then spreading a thin layer of bland icing on it.
There are plenty of great articles already popping up that detail the evils of “Ryancare,” as Ben Shapiro dubbed it. Erick Erickson said it’s “just Obamacare with a different polish.” Senator Rand Paul calls it “Obamacare Lite.” Philip Klein points out that the bill relies on attracting healthy people (didn’t Obamacare already fail at that?).
My biggest beef is that this does not fundamentally change the reality of American healthcare. The Affordable Care Act was never about health. It was economic redistribution wrapped in antibiotics and CAT scans. Its replacement shifts the redistribution in style but not in substance, at least in its current form. The only hope I have is that it will be debated down to real reform that works towards removing the federal government from healthcare altogether.
Call me a dreamer for hoping it can be improved before it’s ever sent to President Trump’s desk. Deep down, I know that the voices of reason, conservatism, and Federalism have uphill battles to fight. I also know there’s enough money flowing behind the scenes to make Republicans discard fiscal responsibility and common sense.
Perhaps the most disgusting aspect of Obamacare 2.0 is that it’s a self-serving move by the Republicans. Instead of proposing the unpopular but necessary steps to save the American economy and taxpayers’ money, they put together a plan that is created for the sole purpose of mitigating political damage before 2018. It’s designed to help them keep majorities. I’d rather see them propose a righteous full repeal and sell it to the American people. Just rip off the damned band aid. It’ll hurt at first, but we’ll recover. The fear they have is that they won’t recovery politically. The pain they’re avoiding is their own.
There’s still time to put something together that is worthy of reaching the President’s desk. This isn’t it, but it’s just the opening move. We’ll see how it plays out over the next month or two.