February 28, 2017

REFORM, NOT REPEAL:

The Fight for Obamacare Has Turned (David Leonhardt, Feb. 28th, 2017, NY Times)

Why are Republicans suddenly having such a hard time agreeing about their No. 1 priority? They've run into two obstacles: reality and public opinion.

Let's start with reality. Republican leaders are now paying the price for their dishonest approach to fighting Obamacare. [...]

They blamed Obamacare (sometimes fairly, mostly not) for almost every health care problem. They've promoted the same fallacy for which conservatives often mock liberals: the free-lunch fallacy.

There is no free lunch on health care. Your health "costs" pay for my health "benefits," and vice versa. If Trump promises a less expensive system, he is also promising to eliminate some care. He could cut wasteful care -- and should -- but Republicans caricatured the Obama administration's attempts as "death panels" without offering their own steps.

Now that they're running the government, free-lunchism has consequences. Their promise to scrap taxes on the wealthy, for example, leaves them without money to cover people. That's why the independent Congressional Budget Office keeps concluding that the various Obamacare replacement plans would deprive millions of people of insurance. [...]

Most Americans still have complaints about Obamacare. So do I. (Some subsidies are too small, as are the penalties for not signing up.) But they increasingly realize that no serious alternative exists -- still. Getting rid of Obamacare means taking away health insurance, and medical care, from millions of people.

No wonder the polls have flipped, and more than half the country now supports the law.

One group to watch is Republican governors. They met in Washington this weekend and tried to come up with an approach that would help their colleagues in Congress. But they couldn't. Too many Republican governors understand that a repeal would create major trouble. 


Posted by at February 28, 2017 4:33 AM

  

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