Republicans have had seven years to come up with an alternative to Obamacare, one of the worst pieces of legislation in history. The GOP replacement plan has prompted Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, to ask, “And this is what they have come up with? … Replacing Obamacare should have been a low bar.”
If you want to see political malpractice in action … just look at the mess Republicans have made of repealing and replacing Obamacare. Given seven years to come up with a replacement for one of the most poorly designed (and most scrutinized) laws in modern history, Republicans somehow managed to botch both the politics and policy.
Yes it’s true that the ACA did expand coverage, but not nearly as much as is commonly reported. Of the 20 million or so who have received coverage, over half are signed up for Medicaid, “which provides little of actual value in terms of care.”
This small benefit came at the expense of virtually destroying the individual insurance market. Premiums for the benchmark silver plan have roughly doubled since the law was implemented, while out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance, have skyrocketed. Consumer choice has dwindled with insurance companies pulling out of the market — roughly a third of U.S. counties and five states have just one insurer offering Obamacare plans — and provider networks shrinking. Keeping your plan and your doctor has become a laugh line. The law’s taxes and regulations have slowed America’s economic recovery, and, according to some studies, reduced its job growth.
What is more alarming is Obamacare’s “teetering on the edge of an adverse-selection death spiral,” as healthier consumers leave the market as their premiums rise.
Without a pool of healthy people to offset the costs of the sick people who rushed to sign up for Obamacare, a phenomenon exacerbated by the law’s requirement that insurers cover preexisting conditions, insurers are forced to raise premiums still more, beginning the cycle anew. Obamacare’s collapse seems more a question of “when” than of “if.”
To read more from Michael Tanner on how Republicans have “missed an opportunity to implement the kind of health-care reform that would make a real, positive difference,” click here.