Repeal and Replace: The Disaster Continues

  • Ben Hayward
  • Mar 6, 2017 11:27AM

Don’t worry everybody, Vice President Pence says that the replacement to Obamacare is on the way. In an event with Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin, Pence promised, “We're going to replace Obamacare with the kinds of solutions that will lower the cost of health insurance for every American. We expect in a matter of days that you're going to begin to see a very brisk pace of legislative activity.” (via CNBC)

However, the Vice President’s ability to guarantee a speedy repeal and replacement is dodgy at best. For two months the Republicans’ have made replacing the Affordable Care Act one of their top priorities, but all they have produced so far is a leaked bill and lot of flowery, if confused, rhetoric. (Comparing the ACA to, among other things, a goat in a house, a puzzle, a ‘house of sand,' a bus ticket in a busless town, a collapsing bridge, a burning rug, and more cowbell.)

While Republicans are very good at coming up with creative ways to deride the ACA, they are divided on what might be done to replace it. In a newly leaked draft of the bill, the Republican house has retained the age-based tax incentives of the original draft and have added language that would preclude wealthy Americans from qualifying for tax rebates on healthcare. The new leak also contains provisions that would require a verification process for beneficiaries, state innovation grants and reinsurance funds (which funnel government money into private insurers when expenses for individual beneficiaries are too high, between $50,000 and $350,000 in the new bill), and the removal of the “grandmothering” language of the ACA which allows people to keep plans that do not meet the coverage standards of the ACA.

It is worth noting that none of this information has been released officially, and that all the above language is from documents obtained by Politico. There is still no official proposal or bill, even though Speaker Ryan has promised that the house will vote on new legislation within three weeks.

This continuing farce is not only bad politicking but bad legislating, as the as-yet-unseen bill continues to divide the party and ensure worse care and coverage for the average American.

Let’s break down the plan.