Why Cruz’s Healthcare Amendment is a big deal.

Today Cruz proposed an amendment, verbally to the GOP leadership in the senate, for the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) in an attempt to bridge the gap between conservatives and moderates and pass the bill. In essence, it provides insurance companies the option of offering an additional, cheaper bill for any prospective buyer along with the current ACA mandated plan. In exchange, the conservative is willing to accept lower tax cuts for Medicaid and vote for the bill, citing greater business freedom and consumer choice.

The reality is this amendment would likely cause the inadvertent creation of high-risk pools, insurance groups which are primarily stocked by the ill, due to the healthy and young choosing the cheaper less comprehensive plans. The ill, old or those with pre-existing conditions would lean towards to the comprehensive plans. Said consumers would need to use their insurance for whatever treatment they require, forcing the companies to pay for the treatments, and in turn requiring the companies to raise costs to afford to do so. This in turn will massively increase premiums, defeating the purpose of much of this bill.

Functionally the amendment (and bill) is not sustainable in the long term, but it could lead to a short term win for the Republican party, as moderates are more likely to support a plan that has more generous cuts for Medicaid and better funding for combating the opioid crisis. But even with said benefits, and even without this amendment, there is one simple fundamental truth that will inevitably result in severe consequences.

This is a bad bill.

It has been designed poorly, mostly in an attempt to bridge political gaps and fit the rules for reconciliation, functions poorly and seems designed only to achieve some form of ‘repeal and replace’. There is no seeming interest in this being an effective bill, no interest in making a conservative form of comprehensive healthcare; the only thing this bill really accomplishes is that it cuts taxes for the rich.

Something like healthcare cannot be relegated to a  political win: it’s a massive part of the economy, it significantly impacts peoples lives, and is considered (in the rest of the western world) a fundamental part of society, and instead of being treated as such, this is only being shown as a political battle. People will die if (when) this bill passes. And no one in the Republican Party really seems to recognize that, trapped as they are in their little bubble on Capital Hill.

I can only hope this bill fails. I don’t want to consider the alternative.

 

Citation:
Bloomberg: Cruz Pitches New Amendment 

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