Health care: Does the GOP have a plan?
Republicans have “a spectacular” plan to provide better, cheaper health care for everyone, said Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com. What is it? You’ll just have to wait at least two years to find out. President Trump renewed his administration’s quixotic assault on the Affordable Care Act last week by asking the courts to throw out the law in its entirety, while swearing Republicans are working “on something really spectacular” to replace it. Congressional Republicans, however, were aghast over Trump’s decision to revisit the health-care issue, since their doomed 2017 repeal crusade helped cost them 40 House seats in the midterm elections. When Republican leaders this week begged Trump not to revisit health care now, Trump announced he’d unveil his spectacular plan after the 2020 election.
The White House has already given us a strong hint of what it will do, said Sarah Kliff in Vox.com. Despite Trump’s promise to cover “everybody” for less money, Republicans have consistently pursued an agenda that “does the opposite.” All of the various options the GOP put on the table in recent years would have taken away health insurance from millions of people, while providing weaker protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. Last month, Trump’s proposed budget called for reviving a version of the GOP’s unpopular 2017 Graham-Cassidy health-care bill. That defeated proposal would have cut $230 billion in health-care spending over 10 years, while forcing millions to lose coverage. It would also have allowed states to give insurers permission to charge patients with pre-existing conditions much higher premiums. “Instead of touting unpopular policies, the Trump administration has simply decided not to tell the truth about them.”
The truth, said Betsy McCaughey in the New York Post, is that conservatives do have policy ideas that would make health insurance better and cheaper. Premiums for healthy people are unfairly expensive under Obamacare because 5 percent of the population accounts for nearly 50 percent of health-care costs. If the government separated the chronically ill into a high-risk pool, it could provide a $20 billion subsidy to keep their premiums affordable, while lowering everyone else’s. Republicans do need a plan they can confidently sell to the public, said the National Review in an editorial. In 2018, Democrats convinced voters that Republicans wanted to repeal Obamacare with nothing to replace it. In 2020, hiding from the issue will backfire on the GOP—again. “Replacing Obamacare is still a Republican duty.”