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UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT :
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They Promised Better Insurance. They Cant Deliver.
They Promised Better Insurance. They Cant Deliver.
Now the jig is up.
Updated by Matthew Yglesias
March 24, 2017, 4:58pm EDT
Donald Trump added his own signature dose of shamelessness to the Republicans shameless crusade against Obamacare.
Were going to have insurance for everybody, Trump told the Washington Post after the election. Under Trumpcare, according to Trump, people can expect to have great health care. It will be in much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better.
This was bolder and brasher than what more establishment-minded Republicans had said over the years. But it was, fundamentally, similar to promises and insinuations made by Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and dozens of other Republicans. Its not just that the Affordable Care Act was killing jobs and sentencing people to death panels. Its that Republicans had some much better plan in their back pocket that would give Americans what they want cheap, comprehensive health insurance that offers them oodles of choice.
It was a great line, and it helped Republicans win Congress and eventually the White House. But it was a lie, and now Trump and Republicans in Congress are paying for it.
Policy-minded conservatives have serious criticisms of President Obamas health care law. They think it taxes rich people too much, and coddles Americans with excessively generous, excessively subsidized health insurance plans. They want a world of lower taxes on millionaires while millions of Americans put skin in the game in the form of higher deductibles and copayments. Exactly the opposite, in other words, of what Republican politicians have been promising.
And this, more than tensions between the conservative and moderate flanks of the caucus, is why the prospect of actually legislating brought the GOP to a crisis point. The chasm between what theyve been saying they want to do and what their policy ideas actually do was simply much too large to be bridged.
Topics Discussed in This Article:
Conservatives think the ACAs redistribution is immoral
Conservatives think ACA taxes and spending hurt growth
The Republican argument about health care looked totally different
Republicans promised people better health insurance
Republicans want people to have worse health insurance
The jig is up
In the months since Election Day, it became increasingly apparent that a reasonably large number of Republican Party legislators either didnt understand that the campaign against Obamacare was based on lies or else had never really considered the implications of that reality.
Either way, the problem with passing a law that is going to make peoples health coverage worse while promising that it will get better was pretty obvious: People would notice when they llostose insurance or when their deductible skyrockets.
They would also hear stories from friends, relatives, and co-workers.
Doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers would also notice that their patients dont have the money to afford coverage. You can win an election based on a lie. You can even pass a bill based on a lie if you want. But you cant expect that youre going to get away with it.
Which is why, over time, GOP replacement plans kept evolving to look more and more like the status quo. The less the replacement actually changes things, the less obvious it would be that Republicans have broken their promises to deliver better coverage for the American people. But even the final version of repeal still had analysts anticipating that millions of people will lose coverage, while the value of the coverage for those who remain is reduced. That leaves the GOP caught between ideological stalwarts who are alarmed by how much of the Obamacare framework the plan leaves in place and nervous pragmatists who are worried about how much suffering it inflicts.
Conflicts between purists and pragmatists are nothing new in the legislative space. But the profound dishonesty underlying the repeal campaign was something special. Its wasnt a question of half a loaf versus holding out for the whole thing. It was a question of whether Republicans should try to deliver on their ideas or try to deliver on their promises, in a world where their ideas are antithetical to what theyve promised. And there was no way out.
Obamacare repeal: Republicans’ American Health Care Act
Trumps ominous threat to withhold payment from health insurers, explained
Republicans are now paying the price for a years-long campaign of Obamacare lies
Where the Republican health care bill stands right now
VIEW ALL 289 STORIES
Why Republicans arent winning the argument over preexisting conditions
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