RyanCare Does Not Eliminate Government Playing Doctor
RyanCare Does Not Eliminate Government Playing Doctor- …wearing the mantle of Franklin Roosevelt who helped turn America upside down and create a socialistic state…”
by Bill Lockwood
The proposed Republican version of ObamaCare, known as the American Health Care Act (ACHA), is just that– a lighter “version” of the Affordable Care Act—but certainly not a repeal as demanded by voters last fall. It is true that some of the provisions of the ACA, such as the individual mandate, have been cut. However, Republicans have retained their own set of Federal mandates. In the words of Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), “This is not the Obamacare repeal bill we’ve been waiting for. It is a missed opportunity and a step in the wrong direction.” Bottom line: the Republican version of Health Care, the ACHA, fails to recognize that, in the words of Ronald Reagan, “government is the problem.”
First is the AHCA regulation requiring insurers to accept all applicants and charge them the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions. This is known as “community rating.” According to Michael Tennant (The New American, 3-8-17) “community rating” is the cause of the death spiral that health insurance is now experiencing under the ACA. It encourages the sick to buy coverage immediately while the healthy are encouraged to forgo it until they need it. This is why Obama placed individual mandates in the ACA. But free markets are not created by federal pressure, either a Democrat or Republican-controlled Washington, D.C.
Second, RyanCare also prohibits caps on lifetime coverage. According to the government website hhs.gov the current law (ACA) prohibits health plans from putting annual or lifetime dollar limits on most benefits you receive. Previously, “many plans set a lifetime limit—a dollar limit on what they would spend for your covered benefits during the entire time you were enrolled in that plan” (latimes.com). According to Fortune magazine, “Like Obamacare, ACHA also prohibits insurers from putting an annual or lifetime dollar limit on how much benefits a patient may receive.”
Let’s translate with illustration.
America is plagued with burgeoning health problems, in part caused by such practices as illegal drug use. Young and old alike are flooding into treatment centers because of one type of addiction or another. Many treatments are subsidized by the American taxpayer. This is an “entitlement” pure and simple. Again, no free market and no incentive for personal responsibility.
Third, RyanCare imposes its own mandate known as the “continuing coverage” mandate. Seth Chandler, writing in Forbes online (3-6-17) explains that section 133 of the AHCA requires insurers to charge purchasers a 30% “penalty” if they “obtain coverage in a given year without having had coverage the preceding year.” Individuals are “incentivized” to purchase health insurance “even in those years when they feel the premiums are high relative to their expected costs.”
In other words, the Republicans under Paul Ryan are keeping “mandates”–albeit in a more subtle fashion. “No one will be forced to do so—it won’t be a tax on doing nothing like the ACA imposed—but, if people know about the penalty, it might be fairly effective and feel somewhat less coercive.” It is government coercion just the same.
Fourth, then there is the “tax credit.” The GOP plan retains ObamaCare “tax credits” for the purchase of insurance. These “credits” may sound like tax “cuts,” but in truth they are not. The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon noted, “To the extent that the bill’s modified tax credits are tax reduction … they are the functional equivalent of ObamaCare’s individual mandate.”
This is because the “tax credits” are available only to those who purchase health insurance. Those who do not purchase health insurance must pay more to the IRS than those who do. This is a mandate and another entitlement.
For all the trumpet-blasting by the Republicans as they convene to rid America of the socialistic morass in which the health care industry is now engulfed, they cannot bring themselves to return to a Constitutional concept of limited government where more personal responsibility is required of citizens. Instead, they are wearing the mantle of Franklin Roosevelt who helped turn America upside down and create a socialistic state wherein the workers of America continue to be robbed to pay for more entitlements.
Most importantly, federal government involvement in health care is unconstitutional. Though America is used to thinking of the Constitution in terms of what federal judges, including the Supreme Court, may say it means, those who crafted it were very clear. Samuel Adams, though not of the Constitutional Convention, was Governor of Massachusetts and a delegate to the Continental Congress. He noted,
“The utopian schemes of leveling [income redistribution], and a community of goods [central ownership of property], are as visionary and impracticable as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional.”
Benjamin Franklin, the most elderly delegate to the Constitutional Convention, warned us of the collectivist left and its raft of “entitlements.” After living many years in Europe and witnessing redistribution programs first-hand, he had plenty to say about the evils of those systems into which we now have been led. To a friend he wrote, “I have long been of your opinion, that your legal provision for the poor [in England] is a very great evil, operating as it does to the encouragement of idleness.”
Entitlements are the problem. Retaining government mandates and entitlements by RyanCare sustains this unconstitutional system and is why the Republican ACHA is a “step in the wrong direction.” Our politically correct society is churning out young people who have been given subsidized education, food, housing, health care, and even subsidized incarceration. Entitlements incentivize poor choices while punishing responsible choices. RyanCare continues this sad legacy.