For months now we've warned, as have many prominent Republican legislators, that Obamacare is on the verge of collapse (see "Obamacare On "Verge Of Collapse" As Premiums Set To Soar Again In 2017").
It's not that shocking really as the fundamental concept behind the legislation made it doomed from the start. The idea was that, out of an abundance of compassion for their elders, young, healthy millennial families would fork up $10s of thousands of dollars each year to purchase health insurance they didn't really need. Those premiums would then be used to subsidize care for the elderly who consume more than their "fair share," to quote Obama.
Unfortunately, the basic math skills of our young millennials turned out to be better than the Obama administration had planned for and they figured out they were better off just paying the Obamacare tax to the IRS than paying the larger Obamacare 'tax' associated with buying a service they never use. This "adverse selection bias" left risk pools way worse than insurers planned, which drove premiums even higher, which forced even more young people to ditch their insurance and the cycle will continue until the system ultimately fails.
In fact, as we pointed out last week, Knoxville, TN could be ground zero for the Obamacare explosion as it's 40,000 residents live in a county that has been left with no healthcare options for the 2018 plan year after Humana pulled out of exchanges there.
And, with the fate of Obamacare all but sealed, you can imagine our shock to learn that several House Republicans are now apparently warming up to the legislation.
One such person is Patrick McHenry of North Carolina who says that any efforts of the Trump administration to lure votes from the Freedom Caucus by relaxing rules to allow insurance providers to charge people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums would be a "bridge too far" for some more moderate Republicans. Per The Hill:
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the GOP’s chief deputy whip, said Wednesday that the Freedom Caucus's calls for states to be able to apply for waivers to repeal pre-existing condition protections are “a bridge too far for our members.”
Those ObamaCare protections include what is known as community rating, which prevents insurers from charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, and guaranteed issue, which prevents insurers from outright denying coverage to them.
McHenry spoke in personal terms about the importance of keeping in place those Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions, contained in Title I of the law.
“If you look at the key provisions of Title I, it affects a cross section of our conference based off of their experience and the stories they know from their constituents and their understanding of policy,” McHenry said.
“My family history is really bad, and so my understanding of the impact of insurance regs are real, and I believe I'm a conservative, so I look at this, understand the impact of regulation, but also the impact of really bad practices in the insurance marketplace prior to the ACA passing,” he continued. “There are a lot of provisions that I've campaigned on for four election cycles that are part of the law now that I want to preserve.”
Meanwhile, other Republicans are also supporting ObamaCare's expanion of Medicaid and the so-called "minimum coverage" mandate that, among other things, requires men to pay for maternity benefits...and while it may now be customary for our snowflakes to "choose" their own gender, we're pretty sure that biology doesn't actually work that way.
Many Republicans from states that accepted ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid are supporting keeping it.
A group of Republican senators, including Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), the chairman of Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, last month objected to a draft of the House GOP repeal bill because it did not “provide stability and certainty for individuals and families in Medicaid expansion programs or the necessary flexibility for states.”
The House bill would effectively end the Medicaid expansion starting in 2020. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) warned that change “affects so many of our disabled individuals and families, and the working poor.”
Republicans had long derided ObamaCare’s “essential health benefits,” which mandate 10 health services that insurance plans must cover. They have said, for example, that men should not be forced to pay for plans that cover maternity care.
But now some Republicans are speaking up in favor of those requirements, including the chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.).
“In addition to the loss of Medicaid coverage for so many people in my Medicaid-dependent state, the denial of essential health benefits in the individual market raise serious coverage and cost issues,” Frelinghuysen wrote in a statement last month announcing he would oppose the House GOP repeal bill.
House Republicans even touted an amendment on Thursday that they said would bring down premiums by the government helping to pay for the costs of high-cost enrollees. That program is very similar to one that already existed in ObamaCare, called “reinsurance.”
Of course, it's looking increasingly likely that former House Speaker John Boehnor was right about Republicans and healthcare all long when said that the idea of a quick repeal and replace was just "happy talk....Republicans never ever agree on health care."