Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Senate Republicans Have Effectively Advanced the Single Payer Option, and Other ObamaCare Thoughts

The Republicans said give us the House and we can do something. They got the House in 2010 and did little. The Republicans said give us the House and Senate and we can do something. They gained and Senate in 2014 and did nothing. The Republicans said give us the House, Senate and Presidency, and then they could act They got the House, Senate, and Presidency in 2016, and now they would act. Let me rephrase it pursuant to the Kiss Theorem: Give us the House! Give us the Senate! Give us the Presidency! Give up!!!!!! The Senate Republicans rejected all changes to ObamaCare, the single most important factor in the Republican rise over the past seven years. They risk fading into oblivion and meaninglessness, as ObamaCare accelerates the road to implosion. The only solution then with our current healthcare system shattered will be single payer. Single payer can be highly seductive, just as socialism. Get rid of the avaricious insurance companies and let the efficiency of a single payer take over. To see how single payer would work, look to the Veterans Administration. Look to the Indian Health Service, which rivals the VA with poor health service. Look to the Army’s fabled, flagship Walter Reed Hospital, which closed in 2011, because it was physically dilapidated. The single payer will be a large, ever growing federal bureaucracy, protected against sloth and incompetence by civil service rules, and which will be unionized by the next Democratic President. Think of England’s National Health System, which is the largest employer in England, and the fifth largest in the world with 1.4 million employees. The Senators who fought change in 2017 are not up for reelection in 2018. What do they care? Four years is an eternity in politics. They must believe the Republican voters are stupid with short memories. The GOP is the party of the elephant and not the donkey. The Republicans voted in a meaningless gesture for seven years to repeals the reviled ObamaCare. Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona ran ads against ObamaCare. Senator Murkowski sponsored several bills to limit ObamaCare. That was then; this is now. Their votes matter now; every vote matters. Hypocrisy; they got cold feet when it mattered. Senator McCain has a reputation as a maverick. He is, but he is also consistent in one respect. He respects the civility, dignity and bipartisanship of the Senate compared to the raucous House. Note to Senator McCain. Those days are history, destroyed by President Obama and then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Republicans are criticized for not cooperating with Democrats on their attempts to deal with the Act. The Democrats, having 60 Senate votes in 2010, totally ignored the Republicans in drafting and enacting ObamaCare. It goes back even further. President Obama and the Democrats enacted their Stimulus Bill in 2009, totaling ignoring the Republicans. They didn’t even throw them a bone. Senator Reid further destroyed the decorum of the Senate by eliminating the filibuster on federal judges, except for the Supreme Court. He further limited amendments on bills the democrats wanted enacted. Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain said before the last vote that they could not support the “skinny” Senate proposal as the final bill, but wanted assurances from the House that it would go to conference for changes. Speaker Paul Ryan gave those assurances. Senator McCain voted against it anyway and is now back in Arizona undergoing cancer treatment. Here’s what the Republicans could not even do: Repeal ObamaCare outright? No Repeal and replace ObamaCare? No Adopt block grants leaving more discretion to the states on implementing the Medicaid extension? No Repeal the reviled individual mandate? No Repeal the employer mandate? No Repeal at least the medical devices tax? No They couldn’t pass any measure, fat, lean, skinny to at least get to a House-Senate Conference Committee. The Senate couldn’t even live up to its reputation as the world’s greatest deliberate body. They debated little behind closed doors. The Republicans spent seven years listening to horror stories about ObamaCare: high premiums, high deductibles, limited networks, loss of existing insurers and medical providers. They’d heard the blowback in recent months from ObamaCare beneficiaries who fear losing their existing coverage. Their fears are real, but not realistic. The House Republicans made it clear that the current Medicaid beneficiaries would be protected. The opponents were loud, jamming the Congressional open houses back home. The protests were often organized, as they were during the Presidential campaign. Many Republicans were spooked. Now they’re hearing the blowback from their base, letting them have it. Now they’re facing the threat of President Trump to throw them onto ObamaCare, as I blogged on July 14. The Republicans should have held public hearings with witness after witness telling horror stories reminding the American people of why they detest ObamaCare. A rumor is that Senator McConnell asked President Trump to stay out of the negotiations prior to the votes. I don’t know if that’s true, but if is, then the President have further reason to be upset. Another observation is yet again the false conclusions of the “non-partisan” Congressional Budget Office, which said the skinny bill would cause 14 million Americans to lose health coverage. Absolutely false! See May 26 blog. They count as those “losing” coverage Americans, especially the young healthy Americans, who don’t want ObamaCare, and persons who prospectively would be ineligible if the loosened requirements for Medicaid would be tightened somewhat. Finally, let the American people understand that Medicaid does not = medical care. Providers are increasingly leery of taking Medicaid patients because of the low rates – another harbinger of a single payer system in the United States. Hispanics in san Jose, California have filed suit because they are enrolled in MediCal (California’s version of Medicaid), but unable to obtain coverage. This is what 51 Republican Senators voted to perpetuate!

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