Saturday, June 24, 2017

GOP health care reform: maybe it is better to ‘fail’ than ‘succeed’ - By Thomas Lifson

I am starting to suspect that wily old Mitch McConnell is a step or two ahead of the game, and has absolutely no desire to see the GOP’s purported Obamacare “repeal and replace” bill actually pass the Senate.  As is increasingly obvious, neither the Senate nor the House bill is a genuine redesign of health care financing, but rather a tinkering with the structure of Obamacare in hopes of making it a little less counterproductive.

Charles Krauthammer deftly identified the scenario ahead for this faux-reform, should the GOP “succeed” – and it is a predictable disaster:   
Rush transcript via Grabien:
“I think the best political outcome for the Republicans is that this never emerges from the Senate and the issue will then be behind them. Yes, they will suffer from not having delivered on a promise but if they pass anything like this, you will have endless stories about, sob stories about people who have been hurt by the inevitable changes and the Republicans are going to bear the albatross of healthcare that the Democrats bore for eight years and it really damaged them.”
In one sentence: “Why would the GOP voluntarily take ownership of a disaster crated by the Democrats?”
It is clear to me that the only way to fix the health care financing system in the United States is to put payment in the hands of patients, who have an incentive to shop carefully for the best value. This means some version of a tax-favored health care savings account with the ability to utilize unspent funds for future years, or for other consumption in the long run. Needless expensive complexity is introduced when third parties (insurance companies, governments) pay for care.
But such a radical restructuring would hurt many private interests. Entire bureaucracies would become redundant, as would many currently viable businesses that live off of the complexity.
I suspect McConnell’s game is to allow Obamacare to collapse, and for the Trump administration to supply exemption from its requirements to states where no insurance companies participate in Obamacare exchanges. As that number of states increases, Obamacare is effectively repealed.
The GOP base, which has been promised repeal and replace for almost a decade, deserves better than taking ownership of a fundamentally flawed system.