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When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Any Worse- Cruzcare

Just so you remember Ted Cruz’s position in the Republican Party, he’s the one they liked The Donald better than. Everybody hates him, though mostly for personal and petty reasons not because he doesn’t represent a sizeable chunk of what passes for “mainstream thought” in that cesspit of unreasoning greed and hatred (yup, I object to both “mainstream” AND “thought” when it refers to any Republican).

His grand compromise is that if just a single insurance plan is offered in a State which meets Obamacare regulations, that company can offer any number of non-compliant (and therefore cheaper) crap plans which through marketplace magic will reduce the appalling CBO scores on the number of citizens who will lose Health Insurance to something closer to the 15 Million who will be thrown out of Medicaid alone in the very first year.

Ted Cruz Has a Proposal That Just Might Save Trumpcare
By Eric Levitz, New York Magazine
June 29, 2017 2:04 pm

Cruz’s proposal makes some political sense: Moderates can say protections for those with preexisting conditions are being maintained, while conservatives can claim they’ve freed consumers from the tyranny of government regulation.

In policy terms, however, it’s just the abolition of protection for many with preexisting conditions by other means. The severely ill wouldn’t be denied access to the insurance market, but only in the sense that they are not, currently, denied access to Lamborghini dealerships.

Under Cruz’s model, many healthy consumers would avoid shelling out for high-cost, comprehensive plans. This would then make the pool of people willing to pay for such coverage disproportionately sick, which would cause the price of such plans to rise, which would make the pool even sicker, which cause prices to premiums to rise further, which would make the pool sicker still, on and on, in a death spiral, until the sick were priced out of the market completely.

The basic problem here is simple: If we’re going to be a society that doesn’t let the severely ill die preventable deaths because they aren’t rich, then we need to socialize the cost of their care. If we want don’t want to do that through high taxes and spending, then we need to do it through market regulations that force consumers to subsidize each other through premiums.

Obamacare’s great political achievement is that it has forced Republicans to concede, rhetorically, that letting the weak die isn’t an option.

And this puts the GOP’s die-hard deregulators in a bind: If they want freer markets, they need more socialized medicine.

The trouble for Cruz is that he’s just accidentally articulated the logic behind a single-payer health-care system — or, at the very least, made the case for radically higher levels of direct government spending on health-care than he or his party are ready to accept.

The Texas senator argues that people with preexisting conditions wouldn’t be priced out of the market because the size of Trumpcare’s subsidies would rise with the cost of their premiums. But there are two problems with idea.
First, this is a formula for radically increasing the fiscal costs of the bill’s tax credits — keeping coverage for the sick affordable without asking the healthy to share the cost is profoundly expensive.

Second, this would be a nightmare for the very people Republicans have insisted their crusade against Obamacare was meant to protect: The forgotten, middle-class folks who make just a bit too much to qualify for subsidies. These are the people who genuinely lost out from the Affordable Care Act. And Cruz’s proposal would effectively make it impossible for any such forgotten American with a preexisting condition to secure coverage.

In other words: The only way to lower the cost of insurance for the healthy, while maintaining affordable coverage for the (non-wealthy) sick — without taking measures to curb the reimbursement rates of doctors, hospitals, and drugmakers (which the GOP has shown no interest in doing) — is to increase government spending on health care above the levels set by Obama.

This is, of course, the opposite of what Republicans are trying to do.

So, Cruz’s proposal does not solve the substantive problems with Trumpcare. And it increases the risk that the legislation will run afoul of the Senate’s parliamentarian — to pass their bill with a simple majority, Republicans can only include provisions that have a direct impact on the budget. It is difficult to see how changes to the rules governing insurance markets would fulfill that requirement.

But the senator’s offer would let moderates and conservatives alike claim a symbolic victory — and avoid the ignominious prospect of working with Democrats to prop up Obamacare.

In President Trump’s America, it’s hard not to suspect that, in the end, spectacle will triumph over substance.

The moral of the story is not that this particular proposal will pass, they really do hate Ted Cruz that much, but that some similar “compromise” will emerge by, well… tomorrow; designed to game the CBO numbers to levels that so-called “moderate” (there is no such thing) Republican Senators think will sufficiently fool their voters enough that they will retain their seats.

Frankly I’d rather rely on the Teabagger caucus, at least they’re openly insane instead of trying to disguise it.

1 comment

  1. ek hornbeck

    Vent Hole

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