Can Price And Ryan Con America Into Accepting Less Health Insurance Protection?
It is official, the corrupt and greedy former orthopedic surgeon, Tom Price is the new head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). What changes he will make to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) weighs heavily on a lot of minds. Will it be a slow dismantling of the law or full replacement? Will he work with House Speaker, Paul Ryan who promises to have a House plan ready in 2017, possibly by the end of the first quarter of the year? At the moment, who knows what he'll do, but expect a lot of noise over the next month from the GOP about their Obamacare replacement plan.
In fact, the show of the Republican's impending replacement plan has already started, with Paul Ryan as its star. First, he hosted a televised town hall in January, trying to convince America that Obamacare was in a death spiral. His criticism of Obamacare continued on the Charlie Rose show, and every other time he is in front of a television camera or reporters microphone. And just this week the American Action Network (AAN), using footage of Paul Ryan and hinting at his BetterWay plan, ran a television ad claiming Republicans have a plan.
After leaks of a clueless GOP grappling with health care reform at the Republican retreat in Philadelphia last month, Paul Ryan is eager to change the narrative. He is building up his party's Obamacare replacement reveal the only way he knows how, by using his star power and telling a bucket full of lies.
Ryan is not as smart as he wants people to think but unfortunately, he has a reputation for being the smart guy that's not afraid of getting into the weeds of policy. He's hoping that his undeserved reputation as technical but empathetic, will allow Republicans to replace Obamacare with less health care coverage. He doesn't frame his proposal as less than Obamacare. Instead, it is referred to as patient-centered and freedom (from costly mandates for coverage you don't need).
Regrettably, Ryan has a new, powerful advocate in providing stingy health care plans. Tom Price proposed eliminating the Obamacare essential benefits mandate in his health care reform plan. And at his nomination hearing, he indicated that he would consider allowing health insurers to design their own plans. But while Ryan and Price feel simpatico with reducing benefits, can they convince Trump and his supporters that it is an acceptable Obamacare replacement? That may be harder than these two slicksters may think.
Ryan and Price have the verbal skills and credibility to convince Trump and his supporters to eliminate Obamacare's mandated essential benefits, but what about the other parts of Obamacare that they want to eliminate? Price's health care reform plan allows discrimination against people with a preexisting medical condition if the person does not maintain continuous health insurance coverage. His plan also eliminates the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. And both Ryan and Price's health care reform proposals promote the use of health savings accounts to pay for medical care expenses. A great idea for wealthier people.
If Trump supporters can see just how much Ryan and Price's plan will cost them in terms of reduced benefit coverage for mental health, maternity care, drug abuse treatment, etc., and reduced protection from lifetime and annual limits, the con won't work. But I'm afraid they won't see beyond the promise of lower premiums and deductibles, which Ryan and Price can deliver on, but not without a HUGE reduction in health insurance coverage.
The movement to save Obamacare needs to turn its focus to Price and Ryan’s threat of replacing Obamacare with stingy health care plans with greater individual out-of-pocket costs.