One gets the real sense right now that the lid is about to fly off the pot of health care stew that conservatives are cooking up in Congress and that the mess that is sure to ensue is going to soil and scald a lot of innocent people. Raleigh’s News & Observer put it aptly in the conclusion to an excellent editorial entitled “Republicans propose a ruinous plan to replace the ACA”:
“The president promised many times that he’d have a replacement for Obamacare — which he repeatedly described as a ‘disaster’ — that would make health care cheaper, better and affordable. But instead of standing up to Republicans to make them guarantee that in their plan now winging its way through the House, Trump’s just putting the heat on to pass a repeal and this haphazard replacement quickly, all so he can boast of some accomplishment early on in his presidency.
But there’s a big problem. ‘Obamacare’ isn’t the failure Republicans are trying to convince people it is. More than 20 million people have insurance under the ACA. And while premiums for some have gone up, the increases aren’t much for people with subsidies. People who are covered thanks to the ACA are in most cases satisfied. And the federal deficit did not explode as Republicans forecast it would. The private health care industry didn’t collapse. And no less than the American Medical Association is opposed to what Republicans are trying to do, because doctors and hospitals recognize that under the GOP plan, millions of people will lose their insurance, which means they’ll get sicker, which means some will die.
Cooler heads unfortunately are no longer in Congress. Former Speaker John Boehner, essentially run off by tea partyers, said recently of the health care fuss: ‘I shouldn’t have called it repeal and replace because that’s not what’s going to happen. They’re basically going to fix the flaws and put a more conservative box around it.’
Perhaps Boehner will be proved right in the end. But it appears that for now, chaos is coming.”
The N&O’s conclusions were bolstered over the weekend by the fact that a) House Speaker Paul Ryan won’t even say how many people will lose insurance under Trumpcare and b) the fact that all a key Trump economic adviser could muster in a response to a Fox News question about the six to 15 million people who would lose health insurance was that this was an “interesting” bit of news.