According to Vox, Ted Cruz has come up with a compromise Health Care plan. Read the whole piece, if you wantt. I’ve read it twice. There’s a lot of ifs and caveats, but I believe the gist of it is this:
Two insurance markets. 1) A private insurance market for healthy people that doesn’t require all the essential health benefits. 2) Obamacare for sick people or those with preexisting conditions.
Since the private insurance market will be comprised of mostly healthy, younger people, premiums will necessarily go down. Meanwhile, the Obamacare market will have much higher premiums, BUT the government will subsidize it.
“It’s not fair to a working-class person who’s struggling to put food on the table, for the federal government to double their premiums trying to work an indirect subsidy for others who are ill. Far better to have it through direct tax revenue,” Cruz told me.
At first blush, this feels like a form of socialism. Healthy people get cheaper insurance, sick people have their insurance heavily subsidized (in this plan, Cruz would roll back the tax cuts for the wealthy).
In theory, that sounds almost like single payer. It kind of almost feels like a wash for the American taxpayer, though: Healthy people would get cheaper premiums (and could buy plans that don’t necessarily cover all pre-existing conditions), but everyone would likely be taxed more to cover the subsidized health care.
My concern here, however, is that there is an evil ulterior motive. To wit: The Obamacare market, which wouldn’t have healthy, younger people to keep costs down, would see premiums SKYROCKET until that market is completely unsustainable, and the GOP eventually will have to say, “We can’t afford these premiums anymore, so we’re killing that program.” As Vox points out, “the whole idea is dependent on an effectively unlimited federal commitment to pay the bills.”
And how long would the government pay those bills?
Another problem is this: People above the poverty line with pre-existing conditions would have to buy into the Obamacare plan, but they wouldn’t get the subsidies and they’d have to pay the skyrocketing premiums. And if it’s nothing but sick, older, poorer people with pre-existing conditions in this market, the premiums would probably be impossible to pay even for a middle-income person with pre-existing conditions.
In other words, it’s either a move toward single-payer, or — more likely — an attempt to ameliorate the moderates by isolating the poor and the vulnerable into high-risk pools, nurse them along for a few years, and then basically cut off that arm and throw it into a volcano.
Another issue is this: Employer-based programs would almost certainly buy into cheaper health plans that don’t always necessarily cover all essential health benefits, so while healthy people may have cheaper premiums, out-of-pocket costs and deductible would rise dramatically.
However, I will say this: It’s a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, there’s a trap door that will open up beneath that step, and all the poor, sick people would fall in. It’d be better just to leap over that first step and put the whole damn country on Medicaid and foot the bill directly through all taxpayers.
In either respect, according to Axios, this plan seems like a non-starter with too many Republicans and probably won’t fly. It may not matter, anyway, because apparently the White House thinks it can buy off the moderate Senators with opioid money.
Today’s reader FYC Pajiba 10 choice is Chloe Bennett of Agents of SHIELD fame, put forward by Erin S., and it’s a much, much better header than Ted Cruz’s face.