The Republican health care bill makes no sense

The bill doesn’t know what problem it’s trying to solve.

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Republicans in the House have finally released a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare: the American Health Care Act. The GOP healthcare bill keeps some of the most popular parts of Obamacare, like letting young adults stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 and requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

But the Republican bill gets rid of the key element that made Obamacare work: the individual mandate. Now that people aren’t required to have insurance, healthy people could leave insurance pools en masse, leaving sick people who are more expensive to cover.

Hypocrisy is a minor sin in politics, but still, it is remarkable how much of it there is to be found in this legislation. A core Republican complaint when Obamacare was passed was that the law delayed many of its provisions in order to reduce public outcry and manipulate the CBO’s score. The GOP bill is similarly aggressive with such tricks, delaying changes to the Medicaid expansion until 2020 and pushing Obamacare’s tax on expensive insurance plans out until 2025.

Because Republicans aren’t even trying to win Democratic votes, they’re stuck designing a bill that can wiggle through the budget reconciliation process (another thing they complained about Democrats doing). That means they can’t make major changes to insurance markets like repealing Obamacare’s essential benefit standards or allowing insurance to be sold across state lines. That last part is particularly striking, given that it was one of President Trump’s five demands in his speech last week. I’ve always been skeptical about the savings Republicans could wrest by changing those regulations, but now they can’t get those savings at all — which means sacrificing a key part of their theory of cost control.

This bill has a lot of problems, and more will come clear as experts study its language, the Congressional Budget Office release its estimates, and industry players make themselves heard. But the biggest problem this bill has is that it’s not clear why it exists. What does it make better? What is it even trying to achieve? Democrats wanted to cover more people and reduce long-term costs, and they had an argument for how their bill did both. As far as I can tell, Republicans have neither. At best, you can say this bill makes every obvious health care metric a bit worse, but at least it cuts taxes on rich people? Is that really a winning argument in American politics?

In reality, what I think we’re seeing here is Republicans trying desperately to come up with something that would allow them to repeal and replace Obamacare. This is a compromise of a compromise of a compromise aimed at fulfilling that promise. But “repeal and replace” is a political slogan, not a policy goal. This is a lot of political pain to endure for a bill that won’t improve many peoples’ lives, but will badly hurt millions. is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what’s really driving the events in the headlines. Check out to get up to speed on everything from Kurdistan to the Kim Kardashian app.

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19 thoughts on “The Republican health care bill makes no sense

  1. Amanda Bertelsen

    Alright. Republicans. Heathcare can be done one of three ways. You have the Government pay for it (Medicare), Insurance pay for it (Obamacare) or you pay for it (Screwed). Healthcare costs money. Someone has to pay.

    For insurance to work, as many as possible have to be in on it (which is why Obamacare has individual mandate). For Government to work taxes have to go up (Bernie suggests the richest pay the most), and if you pay for it…good luck.

    The only other option for healthcare is people dying outside of ERs.

    I have just outlined the left/right/center of healthcare reform. You will notice Obamacare is center.

  2. Benjamin Griffith

    I really don't understand Americans (Republicans in general). First they are horrified by socialized medicine. Yet they love socialized military. In fact the US is the worlds largest socialized military on the planet. So we are okay with socialized military and security yet we don't want socialized health care like every other modern country on the planet? Makes no sense.
    Get rid of the insurance companies. We don't need a middle man to profit billions off of our health care (sick people). Stop health care from being profit driven. That creates greed not the care people need.
    They used to attack social security and some still do. Yet the vast majority of Americans strongly support social security.
    The US health care costs are at least 30% higher then the next most costly countries health care. Why? Big corporate profit driven CEOs. Years ago doctors ran hospitals not CEOs.
    I'm all for capitalism and free market but there is a line. Too much of anything is bad. Crony capitalism is one of the reasons why we ended up in the most recent recession.

    So basically Republicans don't support free market for our military operations (equipment yes very different) maybe that same thought should be applied to something in some situations much more important health care. Security means nothing if you are dead from cancer.


    All you guys saying tax cuts on the wealthy is wrong, then think again. Let's substitute the word wealthy for hard workers and these hard workers didn't win the lottery or get handouts, but they took risks and kept on fighting. Now the people who aren't making as much money or aren't working as hard are requesting free things from the government, no the government that hard workers pay for. Now people don't want to take risks and work because they can get free money from the hard workers that pay for the government. The government doesn't care because it's not their money they worked for. Lowering taxes keeps the hardworkers working, the unemployed working because they need to contribute to society. Nothing is free because it all came from somewhere or especially someone

  4. Andy M

    Just One Opinion: This Government Healthcare is a TAX!!! Nothing provided by GOVERNMENT is less expensive, nothing!! The Insurance Industry simply just absorbs the taxes as profits and has NO incentive to reduce costs as a competitive entity.

  5. Nate Who

    my big thing is I would like Insurance when I have been fined I'm paying something so if they're going to fine me why can't they give me basic insurance

  6. Keeping It Real

    I feel like it would have been successful if they actually spent more time and effort into it where it actually were to get improved.

  7. El Guacamole

    The tax breaks where essentially added to try and win over republicans who would rather the whole of Obamacare be repealed now and throw everyone off there healthcare plans

    I wouldn't celebrate he may just opt to do what the republicans do want and just completely throw Obamacare recipients off the list.

    Politically speaking I would just repeal. Because the average American leftwing or rightwing is a polarized idiot who votes on what they want to hear not what they will get and Obamacare recipients are mostly anti Trumpers who would never vote for Trump anyway so who cares?

    Either way Obamacare will eventually collapse I didn't have faith in Trumpet or you left wing retards lmao I'll be right either way.

  8. Chalkbag

    It is hard to understand why americans don't like healtcare. It works if everyone pays a little and everyone is covered. There are always more healthy people than sick, so it works fine in europe why not in america? But as i watch this discussion i understand that americans love choices. Not when it comes to women and if they want to give birth to a baby, but when it comes to the important issue MONEY. But still i dont get why is it better to have the choice now and have no choice in the future. Cause when you are old you most likely will need healtcare and if the young and healthy people dont pay in, the old have no choice cause they cant affort healthcare. I understand why rich people dont like this and call it "socialism" cause they want make use of there money so they get better helthcare then ordenary people. A rich guy dont want to have the same coverage, he wants the best, so he wants choice. But why dont like Trump people healthcare?

  9. mike mcewen

    Why is the govt in health care ? Because they own the ins companies, thats all you need to know, Why did they bail out AIG for billions / thats your answer, the govt is corrupt and all you can babel on about is some dumb ass health care bill that the govt' shouldnt even be involved in, Wake up.

  10. Your Boi Skinny Penis

    It really sucks trump doesn't believe in global warning, doesn't pay taxes, and wants to make major tax cuts for Rich people

  11. Dancing Deaddog

    Regulation of health care and pharmaceutical costs needs to be priority one! It doesn't matter what happens with insurance plans if healthcare and medication prices continue to skyrocket out of control! Healthcare will never be affordable if it continues as is.The repeal of Obama care so far is nothing more than a name change. We should all be writing our representatives, congressmen, and senators demanding the focus be set towards healthcare and pharmaceutical regulation!

  12. Louie Lowe

    The fact is that as long as we have to pay For Profit insurance companies to cover our healthcare we will never have affordable healthcare for most people. When we see these insurance company’s CEO's making 30, 40 million dollars a year, where do you think that money comes from? From our premiums that we pay. Money that should be going to our healthcare but instead is going into the pockets of the CEO's, those under him and the stock holders. Medicare on the other hand is handled by the government and has no CEO's, other mangers under them our stock holders to pay money out too. Out premium for Medicare is only $108.00 a month. Can you imagine a 65 or 70-year-old person with a number of problems trying to buy health insurance from a For Profit insurance company? Premiums would be $2,000.00, $3000.00 dollars a month if not more. This is why we need a single payer program. Medicare for all. Get the For Profit companies out of the picture and let everyone have good healthcare at a good price. Remember, For Profit health insurance companies are not in business to give you good healthcare. They are in business to make as big as profit as they can for their shareholders and they do this by giving you as little coverage as they can.

  13. Ryan H

    They need to introduce a stronger cap on deductibles and premium cost. Regulate the insurance companies, they are not being fair.

  14. Linda Hendon

    The ONLY thing that is going to work is "medicare for all", single-payer. They may as well accept that fact.

Comments are closed.