Kline, Republicans give overview of long-awaited ACA replacement bill

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Rep. John Kline’s plan, written with fellow chairmen Reps. Fred Upton and Paul Ryan, would look to replace health insurance subsidies by instead offering tax credits to those who need them to buy insurance.

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Comments (48)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/05/2015 - 09:21 am.

    A Republican plan

    “’…if it ever gets to Congress and they have to fix it, it won’t get fixed.’”

    That seems to be the most important takeaway. What Kline proposes isn’t a plan, it’s an idea that MIGHT be a plan, and the idea itself probably won’t fly. Tax credits only work for people whose incomes are high enough to pay some significant figure in taxes, and sizable numbers of the 8 million who’ve signed on to the ACA are the same people that right-wingers rail against because they “pay no taxes.” A tax credit does them no good. Beyond that, I’d be very surprised if there were many health care providers willing to postpone payment for their services until tax returns are filed and refunds issued.

    Tax cuts “…for the majority of Americans” falls under a similar category, since tax cuts are the Republican Holy Grail lately. Tax cuts mean less revenue for someone, so one operative question would be “Who’s going to get less?” under that particular Republican plan.

    In the meantime, we all know that “…We’re basically not mandate people…” is pure, 100% horsefeathers. Republicans are just as capable of, and fond of, mandates as are their Democratic colleagues. It’s just that what the GOP likes to mandate is rather different than what the Democrats like to mandate.

    With Paul Ryan’s advocacy of magical thinking regarding the economics of just about everything, including health care, we can count on whatever plan Ryan might devise to be one that gouges citizens at the expense of insurers, medical device manufacturers, and other corporate players in the health care game who would like to continue to make a profit from my illness and yours.

    This would all be so much simpler and less stressful with a single-payer plan overseen by the feds, or even by the states. Expanding Social Security to include health care would cover virtually everyone in the country, and Social Security runs just fine with very minimal administrative overhead – not to mention eliminating multimillion-dollar salaries for executives.

    • Submitted by Steve Roth on 03/05/2015 - 01:46 pm.

      The miracle of tax cuts…

      …have been the Holy Grail of Republican politics for 30 years. Despite all evidence to the contrary that they work, of course.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/05/2015 - 03:29 pm.

        They work

        just fine for me.

        • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/05/2015 - 03:56 pm.

          So then they work for everyone?

          Why am I not surprised to see a right-winger writing that?

          • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/06/2015 - 08:23 am.

            Tax cuts work

            for people who pay taxes. If you don’t pay taxes, I can see why they wouldn’t.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/06/2015 - 10:44 am.

              News Flash

              Everyone pays taxes. The infamous 47% don’t pay federal income tax (because they don’t meet the income threshold- which is an individual under 65 earning less than $9,499 or a married couple making less than $19,000), but they still pay state, fica, payroll, gas, sales, etc etc etc.

            • Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 03/07/2015 - 04:38 pm.

              I pay taxes

              I’ve worked all my life, made good money, am now retired and have paid taxes all along. I don’t have special high-priced accountants or tax loopholes, I’m just a regular taxpayer. And you know what? I DON’T MIND IT. I’d rather live in a world with roads, safe food, disease control, and a reasonably-educated populace than sit on a pile of my untaxed money, holding a rifle pointed at the door and waiting for the next band of marauders to come through. If you don’t like taxes or government, go live in Somalia where you’ll have everything you wish for.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/05/2015 - 09:36 am.

    Democrats big plan to fix Obamacare is the anti-analogy of bailing out a leaky boat. They plan to bail buckets of cash into it.

    What they fail to recognize is that the law is hated by so many people, it is only a matter of time before someone finds another flaw worthy of a court challenge. The fed couldn’t print enough money to plug all the holes in this ship of fools.

    It’s the predictable result of passing a bill to find out what’s in it.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/05/2015 - 09:38 am.

    “it’s hard to compare”

    “It’s hard to compare what Kline and Republicans want to do with what’s in the law already.”

    We didn’t know what was in the existing law until it was passed, and even then it kept changing as Obama would carve out this group or that, add this exemption or that.

    Most people couldn’t tell you today what the law says. Focusing on the framework and concepts now is better than focusing on the minutiae that will change anyway.

  4. Submitted by Gerald Abrahamson on 03/05/2015 - 10:17 am.

    Buying insurance across state lines violates US Constitution.

    It violates the US Constitution at least two ways.

    First, it violates the constitutional declaration that all states are equal–because selling insurance across state lines imposes the rules/laws (or lack thereof) of one state on another state without consent of the other state(s).

    Second, it violates the 10th Amendment.

    Thus, selling insurance across state lines is unconstitutional because it violates “States’ rights”.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/05/2015 - 11:50 am.

      Have you ever purchased car insurance?

      Not only did you buy across state lines, but you benefitted from national TV advertising (Allstate, GEICO, Progressive, Farmers) that enabled you to pick and choose between several who tried to differentiate themselves by price and product quality. Now imagine if health insurance companies were allowed to do the same thing.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/05/2015 - 01:11 pm.

        Of course

        Each state has the authority to regulate the insurance purchased within its borders. If you look closely at the TV ads, you might see a disclaimer that all products are not available in all states.

        In any event, it’s really a non-issue to talk about health insurers operating across state lines. There are 25 companies that control 2/3 of the medical insurance market in the US. Counting on my fingers, I would guess that at least some of them operate in more than one state.

      • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 03/05/2015 - 01:59 pm.

        Except that the insurance plans a national company sells in a state have to adhere to that state’s laws and regulations

        • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 03/05/2015 - 05:07 pm.


          And many times those companies choose different subsidiaries for a particular state to qualify under its laws and regulations. Back to the drawing board Tester.

      • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 03/05/2015 - 06:19 pm.

        Not even close

        Every car insurance company that does business in Minnesota is licensed here and must comply with Minnesota law, even if they do business in other states. You can’t buy a Wisconsin policy if you live in Minnesota because Wisconsin has different insurance laws. Even if it were legal, no insurer would ever sell you a policy with a premium that doesn’t conform to that state’s laws and other factors that determine premiums. Nobody is buying car insurance across state lines. Nobody.

        The difference in state laws and other premium factors (health of the population, medical costs) is also why buying health insurance across state lines is complete nonsense. An insurer is not going to sell you a policy from a low cost or healthy state if you live elsewhere. Premiums have to match the risk – that’s how insurance works.

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/06/2015 - 07:27 am.

        State Lines

        Selling insurance across state lines is pretty much a non-starter as you’re just getting a policy that doesn’t work elsewhere. It does nothing to address compensation reform, coverage denial, pre-existing conditions, rate increases, and profit margin, just to name a few items.

        Just go with universal health care and call it done. The public will love it, businesses will love it, it’ll be cheaper by far than our current system, and it will cover everyone, no matter what their age or employment status.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/05/2015 - 12:39 pm.

      You might want to report UHC then.

  5. Submitted by Rodgers Adams on 03/05/2015 - 11:04 am.

    Insurance pool

    A key issue leading up to passage of the Affordable Care Act was: How how do you get low-risk persons into the insurance pool, so that rates don’t have to be set high in order to pay for a pool of mostly high-risk persons? Candidate Obama thought there might be a way, but changed his mind, deciding that a mandate was the only way to create a balanced pool. Had Rep. Kline explained how his plan would deal with that issue?

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/05/2015 - 11:53 am.

      High risk pools

      Just like auto insurance. Each company agrees to sell x number of policies to high risk customers so that everyone who needs government-mandated insurance can buy it. It may be more expensive, but at least you can buy it.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/05/2015 - 03:17 pm.

        A cancer patient WILL

        Use hundreds of thousands of dollars of health care, guaranteed. Your high risk driver MIGHT require tens of thousands in auto repair, maybe a bit more in liability.There is no way any insurance provider would ever offer such plans for anything resembling affordability. They would go under. In what world exactly is a policy with premiums that are so unaffordable as to be comical, better than no insurance at all? Bankrupt is bankrupt, it doesn’t really matter how one gets there.

      • Submitted by Rodgers Adams on 03/05/2015 - 03:19 pm.

        Who can afford it?

        If a poor person has an auto accident and can’t pay the resulting elevated rates, the impact is that he or she loses the right to drive a car. If a poor person has an health problem and can’t pay the resulting elevated rates, the impact is that he or she may lose his or her life. Rep. Kline proposed federal subsidies, which sounds a lot like Medicaid, which we have already under heavy criticism by Republicans. Could that really be what he has in mind? It’s hard to know, because Rep. Kline has proposed a vague idea, not a specific, fleshed-out program. We need to watch out for the devil in his details.

  6. Submitted by Scott Walters on 03/05/2015 - 11:59 am.

    It’s a Fantasy

    Preserve the (popular) ban on pre-existing conditions.
    Eliminate the (unpopular) mandate.
    Provide a tax credit (for people who are buying insurance anyway – for the middle and upper middle class).

    This is another half baked fantasy proposal from Republicans. They have no alternate plan because there is no alternate plan, because Obama already implemented the Republican plan.

    Romneycare = Obamacare = Heritage Foundation Health Care Plan

    On the other hand, it’s good for Minnesota. We get to keep federally funded subsidies, but won’t have to pay for them for Wisconsin and the other Republican states. Since blue states generally subsidize red states already (with some exceptions), this will just help even out the funds flow.

  7. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 03/05/2015 - 12:10 pm.

    This is true Conservatism

    Six years and 50+ tries to repeal ACA and already the Republicans have an IDEA, not a viable plan. Elected to serve and this is what we get. The Republican motto must be “You can never spend too little time on a project”. They’ve spent too much time protecting the fat cats.Talk about worthless.

  8. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 03/05/2015 - 12:12 pm.

    Kline provides no substance at all

    For his “healthcare proposal”. I think that he simply wants campaign contributions from the healthcare insurers to supplement his funding from the for-profit school industry.

  9. Submitted by Steve Roth on 03/05/2015 - 01:36 pm.

    Let’s Be Clear…

    …the GOP does NOT have a plan. There is nothing that is ready to go, to vote on, let alone negotiate on and they’ve had how many years to put one together? This is nothing but rhetoric, an op-ed done only to help make their case to Roberts and Kennedy, to try and let them know that if they side against ACA, things really won’t be that bad, and that they will fix it.

    They won’t.

    And put aside the facts that the tired, old ideas – tax credits (that won’t be paid for, like the ACA. The Democrats will negotiate to pay for it by -you guessed it- ending the ludicrous subsidies for oil and gas industries for example), tort “reform”, selling across state lines (given the red states laissez-faire attitude about, well everything concerning capitalism, that’s a disaster in waiting) simply won’t work, ESPECIALLY without the once previously trumpeted by the GOP mandates. Plus, from what I can recall, there’s been no studies or models that their previous ideas would insure more people and not cost the government plan.

    That op-ed was a joke.

  10. Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/05/2015 - 03:10 pm.

    Yes Dennis

    My niece with CF really deserves to be gouged on her healthcare, simply so you can shout “freedom”. Last I checked, she needs to breathe, you don’t need a car. But hey, you want her to live a life on the government dole, so she might collect Medicaid, that’s your business, she’d prefer to work, but given no insurance company would ever choose to take on a guaranteed money loser like her condition, I guess you make the choice easy.

  11. Submitted by Bill Willy on 03/05/2015 - 03:45 pm.

    Is the Republican dog about to catch the Obamacare car?

    Please excuse the length of this one, but for years now, I’ve been listening to Republicans rail against Obamacare, expanded Medicaid coverage, state-run health care insurance exchanges, etc., and call passionately for repeal of it all.

    Presumably, that’s because Republicans believe they have a much clearer understanding of “the universally beneficial power of free health-care market forces,” and, in general, how everything related to anything fiscal works.

    Well, much to a lot of Republican’s surprise, I’m sure, they are on the verge of MAYBE achieving most of that Tip Top Priority. It’s as close as being in the hands of the Supreme Court, and their Obamacare dreams could actually come true by summer.

    But, beyond the safe and easy repeal-proof bluster and rhetoric, what might that dream come true produce in terms of Market Force Activity and more specific fiscal, not to mention people’s real-life, results?

    “If the court rules against the Obama administration in the King v. Burwell case, about 7.5 million people could lose their subsidies in 34 states that use the federal health care marketplace.”

    (Which, of course, would make health-care insurance unaffordable – again – for a large percent of those people.)


    “Only 16 states and the District of Columbia established their own systems. The rest are run by the federal government. In most cases, that’s because Republican governors and legislatures refused to create a state system…

    “But Christine Eibner, an economist at the RAND Corporation, a think tank, says it’s not just the people getting subsidies who will be hurt.

    “‘It’s important to keep in mind that this ruling could have implications beyond the number of people losing subsidies,’ she says.

    “If the court rules that the subsidies are illegal, even people in the individual insurance market who do not get subsidies would see their premiums rise — including people who bought their insurance outside the federally run marketplaces.

    “‘We see premiums increasing by about 47 percent,’ Eibner says…

    “‘It would be a staggering blow,’ says Andy Carter, CEO of the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania. He says it would be a blow to those getting subsidies in the federally run Pennsylvania exchange and a blow to hospitals, which would lose revenue. Carter says 4 out of 5 Pennsylvanians in the ACA exchange there get subsidies.

    “‘The subsidies themselves represent a keystone to the whole Affordable Care Act structure,’ he says. “You lose those subsidies, and the whole thing just collapses’…”

    “Eibner, of the RAND Corporation, says states that didn’t set up their own exchanges would take an economic hit by giving up the federal subsidies.

    “‘The subsidies are bringing about [$400] million a month into the state of Florida and [$200] million a month into the state of Texas,’ she says. ‘Over the course of the year, this translates into billions of dollars.'”


    Tim Pawlenty’s protege and the case study next door:

    “Why Scott Walker Should Hope the Supreme Court Leaves Obamacare In Place

    “This could have a major impact on the presidential race, since the immediate imperative in the wake of such a ruling will be figuring out how to contain the fallout. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse warns his GOP colleagues of the political nightmare they’ll face if they don’t have a plan to help people who lose their insurance: Chemotherapy turned off for perhaps 12,000 people, dialysis going dark for 10,000. The horror stories will be real’…

    “Of the Republican presidential contenders, no one has more at stake than Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Led by Walker, Wisconsin declined the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and opted against creating a state-based exchange to provide access to health insurance, relying instead on the federal exchange. This means that should the court side with the King challenger, residents of Wisconsin will lose the subsidies that make their insurance affordable. If Congress doesn’t devise a fix—and let’s be real: it’s Congress—responsibility would fall to the states…

    “… he couldn’t possibly have foreseen that relying on a federal exchange, rather than a state exchange, might one day cost Wisconsinites billions in federal health-care subsidies and jeopardize their coverage.

    “If the court strikes down the subsidies and Congress doesn’t bail him out, Walker will find himself in an especially difficult position. He’ll have to come up with a way to help the roughly 185,000 Wisconsinites who will lose their subsidies. And in addition, he’ll be personally culpable for the 83,000 low-income ‘transitioners’ who would not have been affected by a court decision had he left them on Medicaid, but would now lose their subsidies and probably their health insurance.”

    [Which would create] “… a lot of horror stories for a presidential candidate to withstand.”


    Wayback Reminders

    October, 2011

    “Showdown coming in Minn. over health exchanges

    “Minnesota appears headed toward a showdown over health insurance exchanges, one of the pillars of the federal health care overhaul…

    “Opposition to the federal health law, and the exchange idea, runs deep among many GOP lawmakers.

    “‘I think it’s unnecessary,’ said State Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, who is among the more vocal and powerful opponents of the law.

    “Hann, who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services committee, maintains the law is unconstitutional and should be repealed. He’s no fan of the exchange idea either.”


    June, 2012:

    “Sen. David Hann, chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, has been a vociferous opponent of the exchanges…

    “Hann’s committee in March voted down 7-5 an exchange bill supported by the Dayton administration.”


    May 16, 2014 (10 short months ago):

    “PoliGraph: Several GOP Gov. hopefuls want to end MNsure

    “Here’s where each of the candidates come down on the issue:

    Scott Honour: In February, he told the Associated Press that he would not bother fixing MNsure. “We can move over to the federal exchange. It’s there, it works — not as well as I would want but that’s their problem. It certainly works better than MNsure, and it’s available to us.”

    Rep. Kurt Zellers: In the same Associated Press article, Zellers said he would advocate for the repeal of MNsure, but that he wouldn’t push people into the federal exchange.

    Sen. Dave Thompson: During a May 2 virtual town hall on Facebook, Thompson wrote that “we need to eliminate MNsure.”

    Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson: On his website, Johnson writes that “MNSure, Governor Dayton’s version of Obamacare, is a disaster and should be repealed.”


    But that was then, this is now and despite 2011 and 2012 Republican opposition and refusal to do anything whatsoever to help make MNSure a reality:

    “States that run their own insurance marketplaces would be unaffected by a King v. Burwell court ruling, meaning a widening gap between insurance coverage in the two groups of states.”


    If it wasn’t for all the chaos, real-life calamity and the financial and physical suffering millions of Americans would experience due to an adverse Supreme Court ruling, it would be interesting to see the Republicans (finally) get their wish.

    We, in Minnesota, along with the folks in the other states and the District of Columbia that built exchanges, would be in a unique and “protected” position and could just sit back and watch the show as the Republicans scramble and fight and propose and TRY to do SOMEthing to “fix things” by putting their Superior Ideas and Plan into legislation that would stand any kind of chance.

    I doubt it will happen. As politically and ideologically bent as the Supreme seems to be (George Bush Jr. “victory,” Citizens United, Hobby Lobby, etc.), I can’t imagine they’re dumb or gone enough to not swoop in and save the Republicans from themselves and the likely 2016 political disaster they’d have on their hands if they don’t.

    P.S. Ray Schoch is 100% correct in his assessment. Especially in his last two paragraphs:

    “… continue to make a profit from my illness and yours.”


    And if you think profiting from people’s ill-health is okay, and that it leads to “streamlining” and “efficiencies” and “lower costs for services rendered,” or whatever the other cute buzzphrases are, you really should make an appointment with the psychiatrist of your choice (covered under your Private Market Plan) and spend a little time talking to he or she about that. And, if you consider yourself a “person of faith” – Christian or any other – and you think that kind of thing is okay, you should stop by to have a little talk about your views with your favorite clergyperson on the way home from the psychiatrist’s office (while you’re at it).

    Of all the unseemly aspects of “Contemporary American life,” I’m hard-pressed to think of any that is worse, lower, more practically “immoral,” than the maximized profits/”Your money of your life” approach to helping people improve or maintain their Health that has become “the accepted norm” its proponents keep calling, “The Greatest Health-care System in the World.”

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 03/05/2015 - 04:34 pm.

      Right on!

      If it weren’t for the consequences, as you say, I would like to see the Republicans get their wish as well. At least then they would only have time for the war going on in the Republican Party. They are rapidly working their way to irrelevance.

  12. Submitted by Franz Kitzberger on 03/05/2015 - 04:42 pm.

    John Kline, himself

    It’s “nice” that you cover a subliminal hater like John Kline and thereby reveal the hateful views of his supporters in his district, if just to let the left hand know what the lame right hand do. The same goes for Paulsen, Emmer, and the “Blue Dog.” They should be recalled for their Un-American activities.

  13. Submitted by joe smith on 03/05/2015 - 05:01 pm.

    With carve-outs, exemptions, 10’s of millions of Americans still not insured and provisions in the law yet to be enacted how can anybody call Obamacare a success as of now. If the majority of folks get affordable care with access to Doctors of their choice, it will be a success. If Obamacare fails after being fully implemented because of high costs for individuals and companies plus lack of choice for consumer a change will be demanded. We will see which way it goes. I would like to see both GOP and Democrats contingency plans if Obamacare doesn’t work out for us.
    Unfortunately for us, the consumer, there is so much partisan BS being thrown around that we can’t get any conversations going to either fix or replace Obamacare if it doesn’t work out for the American people.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/06/2015 - 07:32 am.


      The contingency plan (as well as the first, last, and only) is universal health care. That should have been what we went for in the first place and is what we should fight for now.

  14. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 03/05/2015 - 09:41 pm.

    I doubt Roberts will let this happen

    I predict (I know, you’ve all been waiting for my prediction) that John Roberts will – if necessary – cast the deciding vote in favor of the government’s position. Why? Two reasons.

    Siding with the plaintiffs would make a mockery of the Roberts court. Sure, the text of the law does state “an exchange establish by a state”. Taken in isolation one can see the position of the plaintiffs. But the Supreme Court has, time and time again, looked beyond the specific words to judge intent. Linda Greenhouse describes it well in her NYT article (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/05/opinion/overturning-obamacare-would-change-the-nature-of-the-supreme-court.html) including comments by Scalia and Thomas. I have no doubt that those 2, and Alito as well, will have no problem flip flopping on the issue to rule for the plaintiffs, but Roberts has a broader legacy to consider. Someone as bright as he can certainly find a technical reason to do so.

    Second, a ruling against the governments position will virtually guarantee a Democrat in the White House, and probably a Democratic majority in the Senate, after the next election. Kline’s “plan” is a pipe dream. The pre-existing conditions ban and the individual mandate are 2 sides of the same coin. The only way to decouple them would be massive subsidies to the insurance companies (perhaps passing through the individual’s hands – briefly – in the form of a tax credit).

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/06/2015 - 08:33 am.

      “Siding with the plaintiffs would make a mockery of the Roberts court.”

      Jonathon Gruber’s admissions have already done that.

      “I think what’s important to remember politically about this is, if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits,” Gruber said to a small audience in 2012 during a controversy that erupted this July, according to The Washington Post. “But your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying to your citizens, you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country.”

      Gruber said voters were stupid, and for some that cannot be denied. But he also laid claim to outsmarting the SCOTUS. Somehow, I can’t believe Roberts has forgotten the adage GWBush once famously bungled.

      “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/06/2015 - 10:32 am.

        Yes, your guy famously bungled his entire presidency.

        There’s an old saying in Minnesota – I know it’s in South Carolina, probably in Minnesota – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.

        A part of me hopes the Roberts Court guts the ACA, because America won’t be fooled again in 2016. With luck, we’ll elect a new leader and a new congress that can push universal health care through. And this time, I hope they actually “ram it down the throats of congressional Republicans…” who also happen to have excellent government provided health care.

        • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/06/2015 - 12:35 pm.

          This debacle was brought to you by Democrats; there isn’t a single GOP fingerprint anywhere on Obamacare. Lots of people are angry right now, but even the low information voters who believed “Hope and Change” constituted a plan know who owns this mess.

          If there is a silver lining to Obamacare, it’s government run health care is deader than dead.

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/06/2015 - 04:30 pm.

            To be fair, there hasn’t been a single GOP fingerprint on any legislation for many years now, even thought the ACA is covered in Bob Dole’s and Mitt Romney’s fingerprints.

            ‘Obamacare’ isn’t government run health-care. It’s government mandated insurance.

          • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/10/2015 - 01:59 pm.

            I guess Mr. Swift hasn’t been paying attention for the past 30


            Mandatory private insurance was originally a Heritage Foundation idea, When Congressional Republicans first set forth the idea during the Reagan administration, I commented, “That makes as much sense as solving the homeless problem by making everyone buy a house.”

            Compulsory private insurance was first instituted in real life in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney (remember him?).

            Then when the Democratic guy with the dark skin and “un-American name” decided to take Mitt’s plan nationwide, it suddenly became scary “government health care.” The right-wing media touted horror stories from Canadian and British tabloids, even though neither system is like Obamacare and indeed, the British and Canadian systems are not even like each other. (In Britain, doctors are government employees, and in Canada, they’re in private practice.)

            When it became clear that no Republican was going to vote for anything Obama proposed, despite his willingness to adopt Mitt Romney’s plan and make major concessions to the insurance companies, he should have said, “OK, if that’s the way you want it…” and gone for single payer, or at least a public option, such as gradually lowering the age of eligibility for Medicare for anyone who wanted it. This would not only provide affordable health care for millions but also shore up Medicare’s finances by bringing younger, healthier premium payers into the system.

            I’ll be on Medicare before the next administration comes along, but I do hope that the 2016 election brings in a president who looks out for the welfare of the American people, rich and poor, and tells the insurance companies that they have to obey the law, not write it to their own advantage.

  15. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/06/2015 - 09:30 am.

    Leftists are up in arms, once again casting about for scenarios which will persuade people of the rightness of their position, reality and truth be damned.

    The favored narrative in support of Obamacare is “poor people will lose their health care” because they “won’t be able to afford insurance”. Well, that’s fallacious on two counts.

    Count one: They can’t lose what they don’t have.
    Obamacare provides insurance, not health care. More correctly stated it provides insurance they cannot afford to use.

    With all the rhetoric around Gold plans, Silver plans etc., the fact is the deductibles for all plans are beyond the reach of most of the people receiving insurance subsidies….they are not getting better health care now than they did under the status quo.



    Of course, many have never gotten as far as learning the truth about deductibles because they haven’t even found a doctor or hospital that will accept Obamacare at all.


    Count two: They cannot afford insurance now.
    More than 3/4 of Obamacare recipients are either signed up for Medicaid, or are in possession of an insurance plan (worthless as it is; see above) someone else is paying for.

    The fact is that while many were initially thrilled with the belief they had a health care plan, the dew is off the Lilly for those that have actually tried to use it. People, rich and poor now see Obamacare for what it is; a house of cards built on a hill of misdirection and outright lies.

    And just wait until the IRS starts deducting fines from tax returns!

    When Obamacare fails, and it surely will sooner or later, whatever the SCOTUS says in June, the only people complaining will be those pitiful few who refuse to acknowledge they were duped.

    Obamacare provided two things of value. The pre-existing condition clauses in policies have been abused and were due for an overhaul, and allowing kids to stay on parents policies is a great help to kids paying off student loans or otherwise busy getting their feet under them in our new, highly competitive environment.

    What’s left is a blatant new expansion of power for the federal government at the expense of our freedom, and another unnecessary, and unwanted mechanism for wealth re-distribution.

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/06/2015 - 10:30 am.

      Well, Thomas Swift, you are making some of the same arguments

      that the left made when the ACA was being debated.

      Yes, the plans are confusing, and yes, the deductibles are too high, and here are two that you didn’t mention: 1) Insurance companies are legally allowed to price-gouge people over the age of 50, and 2) It’s corporate welfare on steroids.

      If Obama had had some guts instead of trying to bend over backwards to please the Republicans by offering Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts Care to the nation (which the Republicans then suddenly hated, even though they had loved it and proclaimed it to be THE answer when Mitt instituted it), he would have simply opened up Medicare to the entire population on a gradual basis, perhaps lowering the age of eligibility by five years per year until everyone was covered and offering immediate coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

      Unfortunately, he kowtowed to the Blue Dog Democrats and strong-armed the much more numerous Progressive Caucus into accepting Romneycare for the nation, instead of telling the Blue Dogs to go sulk in their kennels.

      Far from “bankrupting” Medicare, lowering the age would alleviate its financial problems, since younger, healthier people would be paying premiums and not using it as much as the oldest Americans. Remember that while everyone pays taxes for Medicare, the care is not free, and only the people actually enrolled pay premiums.

      (The Republican proposals to raise the age of eligibility to 70 would kill the program, since the pool of users would be narrowed down to the segment of the population with the worst health, and throw the 65-70 segment of the population onto the private insurance market, which does not want to cover them at any price that anyone but a smug affluent person can afford.)

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/06/2015 - 12:24 pm.

        I’m arguing against what we are dealing with right now. It is clear that Obamacare was just something to get government’s foot in the door, and the plan was to shuffle in a complete takeover.

        Due in large part to the unfolding Obamacare debacle, Universal health care is dead for the foreseeable future, but if it rears it’s ugly head, I have even more ammunition to use against it.

        • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/06/2015 - 04:11 pm.

          So you’re against “universal health care”

          So who decides who or what is worthy of it? Is it a matter of “the rich would live and the poor would die”?

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/07/2015 - 03:19 pm.

            Life and death has always been a matter of money, Karen. Obamacare didn’t change that, and neither would full in socialized medicine.

            In Canada, the mean wait time to see a doctor is 18 weeks….unless you bought private insurance, or are prepared to pay cash on the barrel head, which gets you seen immediately.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 03/07/2015 - 09:35 pm.

              Your wait time for Canadian health care

              is completely inaccurate. To see a doctor is a few days, just like the US. To see a specialist, depending on the malady, can be weeks…just like here.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/06/2015 - 11:30 am.

      You still don’t have a viable mechanism

      To make the pre existing conditions coverage work. My nieces parents were dropped from their pre ACA plan the moment their daughters CF was diagnosed. They could reapply, sans her. My college buddy who had cancer at 19 still had no coverage at 30, pre ACA. Unless your plan is to simply pay off insurers with tax dollars, how exactly do you plan to make insurers, whose only interest is profit taking, to accept risk that will most likely cause them to lose said profit? It’s goes against your capitalist nature. Similarly how do you ever plan to address soaring emergency care fees for the uninsured save for turning away the poor at the door? Should we call that the “doorman of death” as opposed to your ever popular “death panels”?

  16. Submitted by Bjorn Awel on 03/06/2015 - 12:53 pm.

    so the plan is to replace the current taxi credits (yes, the subsidies are tax credits actually) with tax credits.

    Plus, there are 13-14 states that will remain in the system who would have absolutely no interest in changing the current policy as they have set up exchanges.

    The reality is that cutting off insurance for millions will be viewed as a mean thing to do by the republicans. Their choice is to simply edit the law to fix the problem or suffer very significant political consequences. For those politicians on the state level, they will be forced to set up an exchange or see thousands go without insurance. And all they will really have to do is set up law that says they are deferring to the federal exchange.

    Repubs should be careful what they wish for.

  17. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 03/06/2015 - 01:46 pm.


    As much as I would like to see the destruction of the ACA result in complete failure of the GOP, realistically, the effect won’t be limited to those states that didn’t set up an exchange. Since there are very few companies providing health care insurance for all of the states, those companies will suddenly see a huge drop in their customer base. Guess who gets to prop them up? Us. Do you think that will result in more affordable insurance? If your answer is yes, then you need to take a class in critical thinking.

    As much as I wanted the ACA to be a single player plan, I know that it was not politically possible when the ACA was enacted. I had plenty of conversations about that, and my position was that a step forward is better than no step at all. I also remember quite clearly that there wasn’t a single thing shoved down the throats of the Republicans. In fact, they were exclusively catered to prior to the vote. They failed to show up, such was their hatred of the (highly pigmented) guy in the White House. They had a chance to have a say, and yes, they had time to read the bill. Or, at least have their staffers do it. That story was just as much a load of bull that they didn’t get any sort of say in the bill–that they were somehow ambushed. Even if it wasn’t an outright lie, there is no way so many career politicians got politically ambushed. And, if so, then maybe they don’t really belong in Congress (a point that I contend for many of our elected congresscritters).

    In any case, if the boat’s going to sink for 38 states, it’s going to sink for all of them. Additionally, there is no way, regardless of the comments by Gruber, that the CONGRESSIONAL intent didn’t include individuals in those states that didn’t set up an exchange. And it’s CONGRESSIONAL intent that counts, not Mr. Gruber, who is not a congresscritter. Between these two things, it is very unlikely that SCOTUS will gut the ACA in this way.

  18. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 03/07/2015 - 08:18 am.


    The problem with health care is that not that there is a deficiency of ideas, good, bad or indifferent. The problem is that there is a lack of political will to implement any of them. If we are to take Mr. Kline seriously, he must demonstrate to us that he has sufficient Republican support to get his bill passed in both the house and senate, with a reasonable possibility of approval from the president. Without that, all we are getting from the congressman is so much hot air.

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