In six week, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on King vs. Burwell – the case that will determine whether Obamacare subsidies issued to individuals in states that did not establish health care exchanges violates a provision of the Obamacare law. Republicans in Congress have been split over a “repeal” of Obamacare or a “repeal and replace” option. In February, Senator Richard Burr unveiled the Patient Care, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment Act as an option for Obamacare’s replacement, should the Supreme Court rule in favor of Republicans.
As this deadline approaches, the Republicans have continued to develop options to Obamacare, growing the list since Burr announced the Patient CARE Act. Fearing public backlash should the court rule in favor of Republicans, their forged patchwork of alternatives to “rescue Americans” that are affected by the court’s ruling. A Senior House member has drafted a complete comprehensive replacement for Obamacare, while another option would “allow states either stay the course or opt into a system that allows consumers to use a block of health care funds as they see fit,” similar to health care spending accounts.
Basically, it boils down to Republicans being “split” on what to do should the court strike down subsidies; however, the split appears now to be along the lines of which “repeal and replace” option to support versus total “repeal.”
Naturally, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared that Republicans risked “ruin” politically should they reject a “quick fix” to Obamacare when all that is needed is a few phrases to correct the problem. Republicans disagree. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) stated a positive and patient-centered solution should be put forth and filed a revamped version of his “Empowering Patient’s First Act.”
Price’s plan purports to repeal Obamacare entirely. The plan provides for tax credits based on age, since health care insurance is generally less expensive for younger individuals. Parent of children under age 18 would receive a $900 credit for each child. An individual would receive a “one time” tax credit of $1000 to be placed into a health care savings account in order to pay for “routine” medical services not covered under the insurance plan, “while employer-based tax break would be capped at $20,000 for a family and $8,000 for an individual. His plan allows an opt-out for Medicare, Medicaid, and VA benefits and, instead, applies a tax credit to purchase private insurance. The Price Plan would also halt Medicaid expansion and keep States in charge of the program.
In reading the “Empowering Patient’s First Act,” if the individual is allowed a tax credit that exceeds the amount of premiums, the “Secretary shall pay the amount of such excess to one or more health savings accounts of the taxpayer or any qualifying family member of the taxpayer.” Government still remains involved in health care and health care insurance, which does not revert to the previous health care insurance system prior to Obamacare, which is unconstitutional – just as Price’s plan.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) has formulated a similar plan that would give states options to a ruling that would eliminate subsidies: set up exchanges under Obamacare, do nothing and lose federal support, or opt into the Patient Freedom Act (Cassidy’s plan). Under the PFA, Obamacare mandates would be scrapped. States would be offered block grants or federal tax credits paid directly to the individual through health care savings accounts. Cassidy also contended his plan could “compliment” the proposal by Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson to keep Obamacare subsidies through 2017.
Cassidy stated, “When I campaigned to represent Louisiana in the Senate, I promised that I’d fight for a free market alternative that gives doctors and patients – not government bureaucrats – the power.”
As Americans should have learned with the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” “The PATRIOT Act,” and “The USA Freedom Act,” the name of any bill never embodies the true nature of the bill. In fact, one could say the names of bills are an oxymoron to the intent. The supposed “empowering patients” and “patient freedom” bills regarding health care are the same. It’s the name that counts as that’s all people seem to hear these days, equating the name with the substance.
In a predictable move, thirty-one Republican Senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), “have co-sponsored Mr. Johnson’s bill, which would eliminate Obamacare’s mandates on individuals and employers but allow its subsidies to continue to flow to existing customers until Republicans have a chance to win the White House.”
Now there’s a stellar plan – remove the individual and employer health care insurance mandate requirement but still pay subsidies to individuals.
Still another option proposed by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) would allow those affected by the court ruling against subsidies to keep their plan for 18 months, similar to the COBRA health insurance law (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). Under his transition bill, the government would pay 65 percent of their premiums for the first six months then decrease the payment by five percent each month until it disappears.
Basically, neither Republicans nor Democrats know how to fix this mess, should the Supreme Court rule against the subsidies. But, do they really want to? In looking at these proposals by Republicans, they are more than willing and happy to continue some form of government involvement in health care and health care insurance. Regardless of how you slice and dice it, what you call it or try to make it “Obamacare Lite,” all of these “proposal” are unconstitutional, like the original Obamacare.
As it stands now, the majority of Senate Republicans have signed on to Sen. Ron Johnson’s proposal, which is more than likely what Americans will get should the Supreme Court strike down subsidies. Don’t hold your breath. With a Supreme Court that refused to see the unconstitutionality of Obamacare, it is likely to uphold subsidies in order to keep this atrocious monstrosity for Obama to have some sort of “legacy” piece of legislation.
Government has their claws into health care and health care insurance, which will signal a rationing of health care likely to surprise many of Obamacare supporters when their elderly family members will be denied care. There’s no turning back with the “Corrupted Ones” taking up space in our legislative branch. One can almost wager that the unsustainable piece of legislation will warp into a single-payer socialized national health care system before the manure hits the fan or during the final transition to an imperial dictatorship.