Sunday, February 26, 2017

Paul Ryan's Idea Of Freedom Will Give All Americans The Liberty To Die Without Healthcare


When it came to health insurance I was very lucky. I was the president of a large company, a division of Time Warner that gave it's top executives platinum-plated best-that-money-could-buy insurance. I was bullet-proof. Then I got even luckier; I turned 65 and got Medicare. Medicare is better. And I was just in time. I was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer requiring a couple of years of experimental treatment, very costly experimental treatment. Medicare paid it and without so much as a hum or a haw. I'm alive today because of... well, Jesus Christ's compassion and mercy, my amazing doctor and the professionals at City of Hope, and Medicare. Had the Republicans reshaped America's health care system the way they're planning to I'd have surely died-- unless Jesus was going to take care of the whole thing on His own.

Instead of offering the American people health care, the Republican Party wants to offer us Paul Ryan's twisted and perverted definition of "freedom," a vision of "freedom" that is tantamount to-- no exaggeration-- death for ourselves and for our loved ones (unless we're very wealthy or have the kind of tax-payer subsidized healthcare that Members of Congress have).

As Scott Lemieux explained last week in the New Republic, Ryan "has always been a complete fraud. He has consistently offered extreme versions of well-worn Republican proposals to take from the poor and give to the very wealthy. He has not even defended these proposals honestly. And nowhere is the gap between myth and reality more evident than when Ryan tries to defend the GOP’s position on health care. Despite Ryan’s supposed interest in policy detail, his party’s plans to replace the Affordable Care Act have been farcical. The website set up for the House plan literally consists of one sentence promising outcomes with no detail, and a video promising to come up with an undefined plan at some later date.
Having the freedom to “buy what you want” sounds good! Only in the context of health care, it’s a disaster for the non-affluent. Many people cannot afford basic health care services, and the vast majority of people cannot afford care for an unexpected major illness. Giving rich and poor people alike the “freedom” to purchase as much health care as they think they need is a cruel joke, not a serious health care policy. And it’s worse than that; people cannot, in fact, reliably predict how much health care they might “need” in the future, which is why insurance is necessary for practical access to health care in the first place.

Ryan is also attacking the regulations that require insurance-- both employer-provided and purchased on exchanges-- to meet minimum coverage requirements. But this is not “freedom” of any value. Regulations that protect customers from junk insurance reduce their “freedom” in the sense that FDA regulations take away people’s “freedom” to buy beef laced with strychnine. It’s true that under the ACA young and healthy people pay more for insurance than they would under a “free market” in health care, but this is how insurance works: You pay more now so you can afford insurance later. Objecting to the ACA because the young and healthy pay more than they otherwise would is like saying its unjust to pay taxes to support the fire department when your house hasn’t burned down.

...Ryan’s arguments are terrible largely because Republican health care policy proposals are terrible. Waiting for the House replacement for Obamacare has been like waiting for Godot, and when unveiled it’s sure to be massively unpopular. Ryan has avoided this backlash by being a member of the opposition, but with Republicans in charge of the legislature and the executive he can no longer hide behind his fictitious reputation for wonkery. This reputation stems in part from his alleged willingness to be a brave truth-teller who tells people what they don’t want to hear—and yet he uses feeble buzzwords to completely evade the concrete tradeoffs contained in any conservative alternative to the ACA.
What Ryan, Trump, Pence, Price and the GOP anti-healthcare zombies have accomplished is engendering a new-found love for the Affordable Care Act in Americans. The new tracking poll from Kaiser shows the approval rating for Obamacare up to 48%, it's highest ever. Here's what PPP found in their own poll released Friday:

Is it any wonder that last week Boehner predicted that a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare is "not going to happen... Republicans never ever agree on health care." As many Republicans are now talking about "repair" as are talking about "repeal and replace." And that's what progressives have wanted since the corrupt corporatists in both parties killed the public option-- as well as single payer.

Labels: , ,


At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is both naked cruelty here, that everyone should have seen for many, MANY decades, *AND* a note of irony.

Cruelty: The Rs (and the donors who make them) are cruel. period. Should have been obvious when Reagan ran on mushroom-clouding the federal debt (to make billionaires out of millionaires) and calling it "balanced budget". But this religious crusade of cruelty, being such a singular policy change, is opening some eyes among the dumbfucktardia. When the middle was large and thriving, maybe they could have gotten away with this. Now that the middle is a sliver between the 1% and the lower 95%, there are 250 million who realize that this MIGHT just prevent them from living if they get sick or have a car crash or fall off a ladder.

Irony: In a likely, though not investigated (because: corporations), election swinging move, insurance companies, very publicly, raised premia, copays and deductibles, dropped plans and evacuated markets just in time for the '16 campaign. If I weren't such a skeptic, I'd have assumed they were just gouging their victims for greater profit. But, with 6 decades of experience, I'm a skeptic. I also see their moves, more extreme than in previous years' gouging, as a political move to hurt $hillbillary (running as obamanation III and Reagan X) and help Rs who have been trying to erase obamneycare (because: Obama) for 7 years.
However, the irony here is that erasing obamneycare and replacing it with what we're hearing and has been touched upon here will probably make insurance unaffordable for far more than the 30 million or so who got insurance via obamney. How much will insurance profits crater if they lose 50 million... 80 million customers? And when those 80 million (soon to be 200 million as the average wage erodes in fascist America) seek their care at the ER, who will profit? Not the insurance companies.

Yes, millions may die from this deprivation. Believe me, they don't give a flying fuck about that. But what matters to insurance, profits, will nosedive. And the more they raise premia, copays and deductibles, the more people will opt out of insurance and just go to the ER when things get dire.

The last irony might just be that we'll end up with a form of that single payer thing by default. When taxpayers have to pick up the tab for all the ER visits... that's single payer.


Post a Comment

<< Home