In any functioning political system, this letter alone would kill the Republican health care bill

As pictured above, a significant portion of the U.S. health insurance market has chosen to write a joint letter to Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, explaining that the current Republican health insurance proposal is “unworkable in any form.”   The joint letter could not be any more stark and explicit.  As noted in the highlighted passages from the photo above:

As the U.S. Senate considers the Better Care Reconciliation Act, we are writing to urge you to strike the “Consumer Freedom Option” from the bill. It is simply unworkable in any form and would undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions, increase premiums and lead to widespread terminations of coverage for people currently enrolled in the individual market.

Some have asserted that a “single risk pool” – which requires insurers to place all consumers into one pool to determine premiums – as well as additional dedicated funding for high risk individuals will make this work. That is not the case. The Consumer Freedom Option establishes a “single risk pool” in name only. In fact, it creates two systems of insurance for healthy and sick people.  A new  paper  from the American Academy of Actuaries on risk pooling confirms this view.

Finally, this provision will lead to far fewer, if any, coverage options for consumers who purchase their plan in the individual market. As a result, millions of more individuals will become uninsured.

This is it.  Enough already!  The CBO has detailed the carnage from this proposed Republican plan (or ones much like it).  The health insurance companies themselves are now imploring, in writing and in public, that this abominable bill be stopped before it inflicts dysfunction and damage.  As we all know, the Republican bill would lead to the otherwise avoidable deaths of Americans.

There no longer exists “two sides” to this story.  We don’t deserve distracting stories about palace intrigue, legislative maneuvering, horse-race politics, or political angles for individual politicians.  The one story left — and it is hugely important — is that we are potentially facing a renegade Republican Congress, threatening to do public harm despite all of this established dissent and evidence — and despite majority popular opposition.  

There have to be clear consequences when one political party jumps-the-shark and begins legislating in a malignant bubble like this.  When the press and public debate indulges and sustains such fantastical thinking by a political party, the outcomes can only grow worse.  (See U.S. Debt Ceiling and Full Faith and Credit).

Sure, let Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan come on the Sunday shows this week.  But the only responsible topic should be how they intend to survive this scandal of their own making.

  • July 15, 2017