Republican Pre-Existing Condition: Stupidity

It’s time someone said it. There IS NO SUCH THING AS “OBAMACARE.”

Someone had to say it because it seems that no one in the media or politics wants to.

The Republicans in the House will vote today to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” It will barely pass, if it does, and at least several Republicans have said they don’t like it, but they will vote for it in the hopes that the Senate changes it. Once again, passing the buck is the ultimate form of political cowardice, and yet the Republican Party seems to relish doing it as often as possible. In this case, the Senate is controlled by the same party, so they are essentially hoping that others from the same ideology will actually show a spine, which we know is unlikely. Plus, since both bills have to match before it’s sent on to Lord Donny for his signature, it would have to go back to the House, which means it will die there, anyway.

It’s time to talk about what “repeal and replace Obamacare” actually means, especially with the GOP doing the “replacing.”

Let’s start with the fact that “Obamacare” is NOT insurance. The Affordable Care Act changed the laws and regulations surrounding insurance; it doesn’t create insurance. It should have offered a “public option,” and it did, but because no one could decide what that meant, that provision was amended out of the law. What the ACA did was to make everyone’s insurance better. The law created minimum standards for what constituted health insurance. That meant, all of those fake “insurance plans” that offered policyholders almost nothing for $100 or less per month could no longer be called “health insurance.” They also forced private insurance companies to treat policyholders right.

The people who buy health insurance on the exchanges don’t buy “Obamacare.” They buy from companies like Blue Cross, Cigna, United Health Care and the like. But the insurance they buy is just as good as the insurance that others get from their employer, thanks to the ACA. Among the provisions that affect everyone include a lot of conditions that insurance companies did not have to follow before.

For example, right now insurance companies are prohibited from discriminating based on “pre-existing conditions.” That was not the case before the ACA. In fact, insurance companies routinely denied coverage to people who might actually use their insurance. If you had insurance through your employer, whether or not that insurance would pay for your procedure would depend on what was in your medical records. If you were lucky and didn’t get sick before the ACA, you may have no idea the bullet you dodged. Many insurance companies were routinely citing “pre-existing conditions” as a rationale for denying claims after the fact. They would routinely carve out exceptions for insurance policies based on what should have been considered a minor medical conditions. They would routinely jack premiums really high for those with pre-existing conditions, to the point that they couldn’t afford insurance. Hell, folks; parents were actually not taking their kids to see a doctor because they were afraid of their child being tagged with a “pre-exiting condition,” thus preventing them from even getting insurance when they became adults.

There has been a lot of talk about “pre-existing conditions” in the last week or so, as House Republicans try to cover their own asses and assure their brain dead followers that the GOP plan will cover “pre-existing conditions.” Don’t fall for it. Their plan will not require that insurance companies sell policies to everyone who can pay for one. It also allows them to set rates as high as they want, which means those with chronic conditions will not be able to afford insurance, like they can now. Yes, that’s right, Trump fans, if you have a child with a disability, it is likely you’ll have to fend for yourself. How’s that feel? Your child is disable through no fault of their or your own, and you won’t be able to get them medical care any longer. That’s your Republican Party.

And don’t buy this bullshit about “high-risk pools” and allocating $8 billion per year for them. Do you have any idea how LITTLE $8 billion is? To give you some perspective, this nation spends upwards of $2.7 TRILLION on healthcare every year. That means $8 billion represents 0.29% of the healthcare budget overall. Also, it’s been proven that creating separate high-risk pools doesn’t work. It’s obvious why it doesn’t work. When you take many of the sick people out of the main risk pool, you create a pool that is essentially unsustainable by anyone except the government. I said years ago that it is likely the insurance companies would demand a public option for just this reason. High-risk pools are expensive – far too expensive for the private sector to handle without help. And labeling people with pre-existing conditions as “high risk” would actually create a ghetto of sorts, and those who deliver medical care will be able to find ways to pick and choose who they treat.

Seriously, this is essentially the same bill that went down in flames last month. It’s a turd rubbed with a little Pledge, and that is all. Don’t fall for the hype. What they have proposed will take the insurance system back to the days that necessitated the ACA in the first place.

Call your Congresscritter TODAY. CALL their office, do not just send an email or a Tweet or post a comment on Facebook. Phone them and let them know that this is unacceptable, and prevent this. Keep in mind, most people won’t lose their health insurance, but about 20-24 million will. And it will make everyone’s health insurance worse. It’s not worth it.


Republican Pre-Existing Condition: Stupidity — 1 Comment

  1. Good summary of the issue. From the way people talk, it’s clear that too many people are under the mistaken impression that Obamacare *is* the exchanges and that everyone else is unaffected by the law. As you show, not at all true. Even the 80% of Americans who continue to purchase insurance through their employers are beneficiaries of the ACA and its provisions that protect patients from mistreatment at the hands of cynical insurance providers – a class that is distressingly commonplace in this country.