After 2,283 days of interminable Republican complaining about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) interspersed with promises that the Grand Old Party could come up with a much better solution, very soon, the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan has released the “GOP solution” to healthcare. – which, in a turn of events that will surprise absolutely nobody, involves taking health insurance away from millions of people.
The document is not exactly draft legislation – it comes in at 37 pages if you are generous enough to count the cover page, three pages of infantile ranting about Obamacare, and two blank sheets of paper. Obamacare has extended coverage to America’s neediest populations, reduced American spending on healthcare by an estimated $2.6 trillion, and has significantly reduced the instances of unmet health needs in low and middle-income households. So what does Ryan have as a response to Obamacare?
The first point on the Republican agenda is immediately repealing Obamacare – shocker – and stripping 20 million Americans of health coverage until they figure out how to re-insure them, if they ever get around to it. Ryan aims to support the poorest Americans who lose their Obamacare coverages by giving them short-term subsidies that are much smaller than what they currently receive and will certainly be axed the next time budget talks come around.
As the Republicans begin rolling out new measures from their agenda, they will allow insurance companies to permanently resume overcharging or rejecting patients with pre-existing health conditions. The plan will also give financial assistance to healthcare consumers according to a formula that would result in poor Americans receiving less assistance than they currently do, and the rich getting a tax break.
Finally, while it is true that insurance plans under the Republican proposal would probably be cheap, the lower price tag will come at the expense of adequate coverage. The sick will have high rates or be unable to find insurance, cheap plans will likely only be available to healthy young adults leaving senior citizens with few options, and the cheap plans will likely provide little standard coverage and profit off of astronomical deductibles.
After six full years, the Republican party has not managed to produce any draft legislation or detailed healthcare policy, and the best they could come up with is a 30 page pamphlet that could easily be titled, “New Health Proposal: Tax Breaks for the Rich, Hopes and Prayers for the Poor.” This is just the latest instantiation of Paul Ryan’s so-called “war on poverty,” which is essentially an endlessly series of attacks on impoverished Americans. This “healthcare plan” is literally a plan to strip healthcare from millions of Americans and crush the sick and poor under mountains of debt.
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