Republicans in Congress just held their 56th vote to repeal or cripple the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). It is a pointless waste of time and taxpayer dollars that will never become law, but the wingnut obsession with this boondoggle never seems to let up.
Throughout the debate over ObamaCare, conservatives have tried to pretend that they are concerned about the welfare of the American people and that they intend to replace ObamaCare with their own version of reform. But more than four years have elapsed since ObamaCare was rolled out and there has not been a single bill introduced as an alternative.
Now the Republicans with a newly fortified majority in Congress are promoting a plan that they say can replace ObamaCare. There are, however, two major problems with their initiative. 1) It isn’t actually a draft of legislation at all and will not be voted on. And 2) it illustrates their bias toward corporations and their animosity to the American people they profess to support. Here is a summary of their “plan:”
The GOP’s Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment – or CARE – Act
- Calls for the outright repeal of President Obama’s signature health care law, and with that, the individual mandate to buy insurance or pay a fine.
- Provides for targeted tax credits to individuals and families up to 300 percent above the poverty line to encourage people to buy plans in the market place.
- Allows insurers to sell plans across state lines.
- Caps the amount of monetary damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice litigation.
- Calls for a specific ‘continuous coverage’ protection where individuals moving from one plan to another cannot be denied.
What this amounts to is just another ObamaCare repeal bill decorated with gifts to the insurance industry. There is no realistic way to make insurance coverage affordable without broadening the customer base via mandates. The GOP plan would shrink the base and result in premiums that would be out of reach for most people due to the dominance of high-risk patients in the system. The provision to cap damages in lawsuits has been on the corporate wish list for decades and does nothing to help patients. To the contrary, it would result in people who suffered actual harm not being compensated fairly.
Most disturbing is the hoax that the GOP is proposing as their version of a coverage guarantee to people with preexisting conditions. In the RepubliCare model you would already have to have insurance and then you could not be denied a continuance. Of course they never explain how you got the insurance to begin with. And if you were attempting to get insured for the first time, the companies could reject you without consequence. In other words, it is no protection at all.
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The GOP likes to complain that ObamaCare is a government-run healthcare program, despite the fact that the government has no role whatsoever in providing healthcare. It merely sets standards for insurance companies to make certain that everyone has access to coverage that is effective and affordable. Meanwhile Republicans claim to favor a more “patient-centered” approach, but then offer this fraud that was very likely written by insurance company lobbyists.
If these Republicans are successful, millions of Americans will lose their current insurance and suffer both medically and financially as a result. In its place will be a windfall for corporations that expands their profits at the expense of the American people, particularly those who are already sick. Nice work, RepubliCare.