Friday, September 28, 2018

Republicans Continue to Undermine Pre-Existing Condition Coverage

Missouri Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley apparently has taken the Hypocrite's oath.

America continues to have the most costly and inefficient health care systems in the world.  It literally costs multiples of what other nations with national systems are paying and it costs lives because many who need health care cannot afford it.  If Republicans have their way, health care insurance will become even more expensive and those with pre-existing conditions may find themselves un-insurable.  This from the party that claims to uphold "Christian values" even as it seeks to slash social programs to cut a deficit cause by a massive tax cut give away for the extremely wealthy and large corporations which have not reinvested their huge windfall in increased employee wages or massive capital investments.  It's little wonder Millennials are walking away from the GOP - and religion. A column in the New York Times exposes the Republican hypocrisy.  If you care about health care, vote Democrat in every race on November 6, 2018.  Here are column excerpts:
On graduation, most medical students swear some version of the ancient Hippocratic oath — a promise to act morally in their role as physicians.
When it comes to how political figures deal with health care, however, we’ve come to expect the opposite, at least on one side of the aisle.  It often seems as if Republican politicians have secretly sworn a Hypocrite’s oath — a promise to mislead voters to the best of their ability, to claim to support the very protections for the sick they’re actively working to undermine.
To see what I mean, consider the case of Josh Hawley of Missouri, who is running for the Senate against Claire McCaskill.
Hawley is one of 20 state attorneys general who have brought a lawsuit attempting to repeal a key provision of the Affordable Care Act — the provision that protects people with pre-existing medical conditions, by requiring that insurance companies cover everyone of similar age at the same rate regardless of medical history. Kill that provision, and millions of vulnerable Americans will lose their insurance.
But here’s the thing: Protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions is overwhelmingly popular, commanding majority support even among Republicans. And McCaskill has been hammering Hawley over his role in that lawsuit.
So Hawley has responded with ads claiming that he, too, wants to protect those with pre-existing conditions, as supposedly shown by his support for a bill that purports to provide such protection.
I have to say, you almost have to admire the sheer brazenness of the dishonesty here. For the bill Hawley touts is a fraud: It’s full of loopholes allowing insurers to discriminate in ways that would end up making essential health care unaffordable for those who need it most. For example, while it would require that they offer insurance to, say, cancer patients, it would allow them to sell policies that don’t cover cancer treatment — which would mean that policies that did cover such treatment would become prohibitively expensive.
And the fraudulence of this bill aside, even serious, nonfraudulent regulation of insurance companies isn’t enough in itself to provide affordable coverage for pre-existing conditions.
That was New York’s experience: Before the A.C.A., it had strong regulations on insurers, but high premiums meant that only people with health problems bought insurance on the individual market (as opposed to getting it from their employers), and this in turn kept premiums high.
To make regulation work, you have to back it up with incentives for healthy people to sign up, including subsidies that help lower-income families afford insurance. In other words, if you really want to make essential care available for pre-existing conditions while continuing to rely on private insurance companies, you need a system that looks a lot like … Obamacare. Indeed, New York premiums dropped in half when the A.C.A. went into effect.
Hence the Hypocrite’s oath. Republicans hate the idea of guaranteeing that all Americans receive essential health care, and they really, really hate the taxes on high incomes that help pay for Obamacare subsidies. And you can imagine an alternative political universe in which the G.O.P. openly admitted its true goals, justifying them on the basis of economic freedom, or something.
But in this universe, Republicans have decided that they must conceal their intention of taking health care away from those who need it most. So they’re doing what Hawley is doing: resorting to a combination of sabotage and smoke screen. On one side, they’re hacking away at the edges of the Affordable Care Act in the hope that it will implode. On the other, they’re pretending to want the very things — like guaranteed coverage of pre-existing conditions — they’re trying to destroy.
[T]his is why many Democrats are talking about Medicare for all. Obamacare was a market-friendly health insurance reform designed in part to mollify conservatives; their response was scorched-earth opposition, followed by a series of attempts to exploit public confusion about how the Affordable Care Act works and what it will take to sustain it. So there’s something to be said for a simpler system that would be harder to game politically.
[P]olls show that Democrats hold a large edge over Republicans on the question of which party people trust more on health care. But that gap would surely be even bigger if more voters realized what the G.O.P. is actually trying to do.
So let’s be clear about this: If you or anyone you care about suffers from a pre-existing medical condition, Republicans are trying to take away your insurance. If they claim otherwise, they’re lying.
I truly believe the rise of deliberate and blatant dishonesty of the GOP directly tracks with the rise of Christofascists in the party base and party bureaucracy.  No one is more dishonest.

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