The sleek and shiny black stallion named “Obamacare” had to be led into the arena in the middle of the night because everyone was afraid to go near it. This was no sturdy but reliable Clydesdale of a work horse. This was a horse like nobody had ever seen before. The fastest, strongest, smartest horse ever created, its handlers claimed. The training manual was 2,300 pages long. On top of that, 383 pages of new changes were still being typed up.
The prospective owners of the new horse were teams of two opposing interests. Everyone agreed it was time to legislate a comprehensive health care program but arguing over what form it should take had come to a standoff.
Blue team leaders came up with a bright idea to break the deadlock. All they had to do was hold a crucial vote at 1:00 a.m. to catch the other side off guard long enough to remove a procedural barrier. “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has set the stage for a major vote Monday morning at 1:00 AM – one that would require the support of 60 Senators. That would, if all goes according to Senator Reid’s plan, set up a late-night Christmas Eve vote on final passage. Senator Reid also used a rare procedure to block any further amendments from being offered, debated or voted upon.”
Everything went like a charm and the Democrat faction proudly claimed full credit for finally creating a one size fits all health care program that was just one step away from single payer. Republicans accepted it at face value and moved on.
In order to finance the ultimate in healthcare and pay for its perks, congress quickly realized they would have to sell a lot of policies. This is such a fine horse, everyone needs to ride it. It does not matter if you are afraid of horses, or if horses are against your religion, you still need to ride. The Supreme Court said no problem, just call it a horse tax.
Burdens on the Obamacare system grew. Legislative requirements for insurers to cover pre-existing conditions drove costs upward. Everyone is to have equal access to affordable health care no matter what their condition or chances for recovery. It soon became apparent considerable additional funding would be needed to shore up the program’s stability. Fines were imposed on those who did not sign up for coverage. The penalties were much higher than the premium cost in an effort not just to punish those who failed to sign up but also to scare others into shelling out for the premiums.
Under the increased burdens that came with equal insurance for everyone, the program started falling apart. Republicans called for replacing the failed system with one that could be sustained in the long term, while still providing coverage for those who need it most. Democrats remained firmly attached to the program they had fought long and hard for and stubbornly refused to consider any alternative.
In keeping with the promises made on the campaign trail, President Trump called on Republicans to go back to the drawing board and start fresh. To clear the way, he asked congress to cooperate enough to at least pull the plug on Obamacare and repeal the measure. With no substantive arguments, and offering no constructive criticism or alternative solutions, the Democrat minority simply dug in their heels and vowed to resist any and all efforts to change a single thing. Republicans should have had enough votes on their own to push reform through but just enough republicans held back to prevent even the repeal of the non-functioning Obama program.
The way the situation stands now, even though the system isn’t functioning, we still need to work with it and pay for it. One way President Trump can put pressure on congress to reconsider legislation is by canceling funding. “Donald Trump, frustrated that Obamacare survived attempts to repeal it, has threatened to cut off about $8 billion in subsidies.”
The blue team screams, you can’t do that! “The loss of federal subsidies would substantially erode our state’s coverage gains, and lead to either massive premium increases or steep losses for insurers.”
The Health and Human Services Committee of the National Governors Association is behind an effort to continue the dead horse funding. They are led by Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Charlie Baker. “The Administration has the opportunity to stabilize the health insurance market across our nation and ensure that our residents can continue to access affordable health care coverage,” they said in a statement.
Governors across the nation are in panic mode because they realize without the federal money, they will be unable to continue providing coverage. “A first critical step … is to fully fund CSRs (cost-sharing reduction payments) for the remainder of calendar year 2017 through 2018.”
Republican Senator John Cornyn points out there is no reason to spend money on a program that will never work and won’t discuss it until there is a better option to support. “I’ve said before that I’m not in favor of throwing money at insurance companies without reform, so that’s going to be the nature of the conversation,” Cornyn told reporters.
Some states are getting out of the Obamacare market totally because they simply cannot function under the crippling regulations but Residents will still need to obtain coverage. “Molina Healthcare Inc. said on Wednesday it would stop selling Obamacare plans in Utah and Wisconsin, joining a slew of health insurers that have exited Obamacare markets amid uncertainty over the healthcare law.” “Anthem Inc, one of the largest sellers of these plans in 2017, has pared back offerings or mostly exited five states including California and may exit more.”
President Trump is still weighing his options but appears to be favoring reducing expenses to care for the dead horse as much as he legally can. Until the blue team wakes up and takes responsibility for the problem they created, there is not much more the red team coach can do on his own.