A new amendment to the revised edition of Trumpcare would actually pay people to eschew purchasing health insurance while healthy.
More moderate-to-liberal Republicans such as Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) were reluctant to support an amendment by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) that allowed states to opt-out of Obamacare’s requirements to provide “essential health benefits and ban on charging sick people higher premiums,” per Axios. Upton and Long only came on board with Trumpcare when a new amendment was introduced that provided an extra $8 billion to subsidize high-risk pools and cover the cost of those who had a lapse in coverage and would otherwise face “higher premiums in the high-risk pool and a 30 percent surcharge/penalty under” Trumpcare, according to Hot Air‘s Allahpundit.
In other words, the amendment subsidizes people not to buy insurance.
As Allahpundit points out, that would only exacerbate the soaring costs of health care, as the amendment would encourage people to wait until they’re sick to buy health insurance, creating a pool of unhealthier enrollees without enough healthy enrollees to pay for them, thereby resulting in higher costs.
That’s what has been causing the Obamacare death spiral to begin with; yet the Republicans found a way to make the system worse. Again.
The reason why Allahpundit thinks Upton supported the amendment is pure politics: (emphasis bolded)
For years, Upton crusaded on behalf of exactly the sort of measures the new AHCA would permit to the states — getting rid of ObamaCare’s regulations on Essential Health Benefits and community rating. If you want to cut costs for the general population, Upton insisted, you need to stop forcing expensive one-size-fits-all plans on consumers. As of yesterday he had a chance to support a plan that does exactly that but was voting no, presumably because he knows that the public dislikes the idea of letting states waive ObamaCare’s regs is unpopular with the public. That is, he was happy to call for repeal when he knew Obama would be there to veto the GOP’s bill; now that it has a chance of becoming law, he has cold feet. Viewed through that prism, the $8 billion Upton amendment looks like little more than a fig leaf he can point to back in his district when voters inevitably start complaining about the bill. “I made the bill better,” Upton can say in defending his new yes vote. “I got an extra eight billion for sick people!” In reality, his amendment may end up doing more to destabilize the market for people with preexisting conditions than to shore it up. But it looks good politically, and that’s what matters.
The Trump administration and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are reportedly supportive of the amendment, since apparently they just want to claim victory on repealing Obamacare rather than actually repealing it. It’s still unclear if the bill would pass the House with a scheduled vote for Thursday.
What is truly disheartening about Trump and the Republicans’ reluctance to simply go full repeal on Obamacare is that they have given the disastrous health law newfound popularity by embracing large portions of it. This new amendment encapsulates that, as they’re accepting the Left’s premise that repealing Obamacare would harm those with pre-existing conditions even though the facts state otherwise.
Meanwhile, Obamacare continues to crumble.