What’s being lost in the horse trading over specific provisions in the Republican health care bill is the core principle that the bill shifts the entire financial risk from the federal government back to individuals and families — which is the way it was before the Affordable Care Act. That’s consistent with the Koch network libertarian philosophy, and in truth, works great for multi-billionaires. They come out much better with a big tax cut, then paying their own way if they or a family member gets sick. But that’s hardly true for most of the rest of us.
Insurance spreads the risk over a large population, all of whom pay in over the years so that some who suffer expensive illness or accidents aren’t ruined financially. It’s no different from paying car insurance every year whether or not you make a claim, or loss and damage insurance on your home whether or not you suffer a fire or theft.
I watched Anderson Cooper on CNN last night, where I heard a Republican proponent of the plan claim that you can’t force people to buy health insurance if they don’t want it. We force people to buy other kinds of insurance. And since we all get sick and have accidents, it’s 100% predictable that people who don’t want to buy insurance will need health care at some point. The talking head speaker brushed aside the question of what happens when someone without insurance in the new Republican era winds up in the ER needing care. Do we expect that person to say, “Well, I didn’t buy coverage so I don’t expect you to treat me?” Hardly likely. Nor can the rest of us, who pay the taxes that bail out people without coverage, get to say, ” You’re out of luck and we’re not paying for you.”
The Koch network is going to spend another $300-400 million dollars on the 2018 elections, to keep driving local and state legislatures red, and by extension, the Congress. Since Citizen’s United, there’s no limit on the amount of money billionaires can pour into the system to shape it in a way most congenial to them. They have the numbers now, and the advantage — it would seem — is only going to grow.
David Brooks has a New York Times op-ed piece which says that the Republican Party has no vision for what the country is going to look like, only what government should look like — small and very limited in what it does, other than defense.
I’d say the country is going to grow more unequal every day, with a few winners and lots and lots of losers. Is that really the country most Americans want?