Brian Beutler has a must-read piece on the swindle Republicans are hoping to perpetrate on seniors.
We’re hearing a lot of Republican trolling about the 6% of Americans who might see their bad insurance plans replaced with better coverage (half of whom will receive federal subsidies to top them up), but every one of the Republican alternative plans out there is actually drastically more disruptive than Obamacare. Remember, every member of the PA Republican delegation voted for RyanCare, which cancels Medicaid and cancels public Medicare for under-55s:
Jonathan explains how almost all GOP plans would kick millions of people off of Medicaid, and inflict adverse selection on the employer-sponsored insurance market by creating a huge incentive for healthy workers to abandon their group plans for individual ones. The ensuing death spiral would result in more cancellation notices and “rate shock” than we’re seeing now by an order of magnitude, but without the safety net of the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges to catch people.
The National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru’s solution to this problem is to rip the band-aid off slowly. Whereas Obamacare creates an immediate disruption for a relatively small group of individual policyholders, Republicans should create a slow, steady disruption for tens of millions more.
Other smart conservatives — which is to say, policy wonks without much cachet on Capitol Hill — would replace all insurance with subsidized catastrophic coverage and tax-preferred health savings accounts. Nobody with private insurance or Medicaid would get to keep what they have, no matter how much they like it.
I’d add another. Nearly all Republicans support eliminating traditional Medicare for future retirees, and replacing it with a plan that looks (ironically) a lot like Obamacare. The sales pitch version of the plan is that Republicans want to keep the promise the country made to current retirees and people nearing retirement, but radically overhaul it for the young and middle-aged. Over time, single-payer Medicare would be phased out.
But as nearly every healthcare expert will tell you, the phase-out would be massively disruptive. As the program’s beneficiaries aged and dwindled in number, it would become unsustainable very quickly. Without scale, the government would lose its purchasing power, and would either have to fork over tons of money to motivate providers to care for beneficiaries — a bailout — or watch providers abandon the program en masse, leaving the country’s oldest, sickest people little choice but to enter the private insurance market.