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Better Health Care?

© Tom Tomorrow

The Republicans keep claiming that the Obamacare exchanges are collapsing. I guess they think that if they repeat it often enough, it will be true. There are just TWO problems with this. As I and many others have pointed out, if the health insurance exchanges are failing, then the Republicans should fix them. After all, isn’t a free-market exchange for health insurance exactly the free-market solution that Republicans claim they want? And didn’t they invent the idea in the first place?

But the bigger problem with what the Republicans are saying is (of course) that it just isn’t true. The nonpartisan Kaiser Family just released a study of the exchanges, which was conducted in the first quarter of 2017, and their conclusion is that they are essentially stable. The insurers are making money off the exchanges, and (more importantly) the pool of people insured by them is not getting less healthy. And if this study wasn’t enough, the Congressional Budget Office came to the same conclusions.

Now, here’s the kicker, even though the exchanges are stable this stability is “fragile”. Why? Because of the uncertainty caused by the Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare. Indeed, Donald Trump has even threatened to withhold payments to insurance companies, and there are also concerns about how strongly the Trump administration will enforce the individual mandate even if the Republicans fail in their attempts to kill the mandate. Killing the mandate would cause prices to rise significantly.

In essence, if the Republicans were doctors their diagnosis would be that the patient, while currently healthy, is in danger of getting very sick due to what they themselves are doing, so the only course of action is to kill the patient now before it is too late.



  1. redjon wrote:

    If it’s about the freedom to choose based on risk to myself, then why must I buy auto insurance for a car I own?

    No… I think this is about managing the risk to hospitals and doctors to be sure they are paid, and insurers to make sure they do not lose money. And perhaps even making sure doctors continue to have patients and the system remains stable… If people are more healthy, then profits go down.

    GDP for health care is LOWER when people are more healthy and spend less on care.

    Socializing risk while privatizing profit. It’s the AMERICAN WAY!

    Friday, July 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    They did it for banks and savings and loan outfits. Why wouldn’t they do it for hospitals and doctors?

    Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 5:27 am | Permalink
  3. Ralph wrote:

    Probably more relevant to have posted my last comment here instead of under your D.A.R.E. byline. Anyway, for what it’s worth…

    How do you spell compassionate conservatism? Oh, I don’t know, let’s check in with Wall St.

    Vulture capitalism, it’s what’s for supper!

    Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink
  4. Lew wrote:

    What is the real point of getting rid of the affordable care act?

    What don’t they get if they just tinkered to improve the aca?

    One, it will still be known as Obamacare… And one of their goals is to remove his name from health care and reduce the stature of his presidency… His success is directly related to their failure…

    Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink