Friday, June 16, 2017

Healthcare Now Fully Politicized

Vox asked 8 Senate Republicans to explain what their health bill is trying to do and the answers are all political. Basically they're trying to fulfill their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare but they don't have any agreement (or seemingly knowledge of) the specifics of the healthcare issues that Americans are facing and what policies might actually improve them. When I hear Trump talk on some policy it's obvious to me that he has no understanding of any details of the issue. The replies by these Senators sounds almost as ignorant. The party's goal is to pass *something*, it doesn't really matter what, they can't agree because individually their members want different things, there's little if any shared knowledge no the specifics of the problems or the possible solutions. They know premiums are high but don't understand why or what would lower them, and they know that some counties have lost all insurers though it's not clear they know just how many or what would bring insurers back. Sarah Cliff is a bit more blunt, I’ve covered Obamacare since day one. I’ve never seen lying and obstruction like this.. Now I know Democrats understand the issues more fully. They know that some young and healthy people have chosen to not buy insurance and that getting them into the pool will lower premiums on average. There are ways to do that, raise the tax fee for not having insurance (that is enforcing the individual mandate) would accomplish that. They know that insurers have found that people are sicker than expected and with the threat of repeal and Trumps cut back on signup advertising there are fewer enrollees so insurers are dropping out of the markets. Stopping the repeal talk, advertising, and enforcing the individual mandate would help stabilize the markets. A public option would ensure an insurer and provide competition to lower premiums. A reinsurance program would help insurers deal with more expensive enrollees. A big portion of the premium expense is prescription drugs which all Obamacare plans must include. There are legislative options to lower drug costs (allow Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate prices) and perhaps they could offer plans to young people that don't include drugs to lower their costs. Sadly, rather than being loud and clear and on their plans, Democrats are playing politics too. The Atlantic explains How Democrats Would Fix Obamacare. > Exactly how Democrats would change the bill they enacted seven years ago is less clear. Lawmakers have floated a range of options, from tackling the cost of prescription drugs, to setting up a reinsurance program to shore up Obamacare’s flagging exchanges, to reviving the idea of a “public option” that would compete with private carriers and drive down prices. > But party leaders have chosen not to endorse a specific set of reforms, in part because Republicans have shown little interest in considering their ideas and in part to avoid distracting from their more urgent imperative to save Obamacare from destruction. “We’re not in the majority right now, and our whole focus right now is to keep them from sending us back to a time when insurance companies could sell plans that provided nothing and people found themselves just in a terrible bind,” Senator Patty Murray of Washington state, a member of the Democratic leadership, said in an interview.

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