True Bipartisan Compromise on Obamacare is Impossible

RINOpublican Senators Collins, McCain and Murkowski were barely done stabbing the voters who gave the GOP control of the federal government in the back when Senate Minority Leader Cryin Chuck Schumer was bloviatweeting about the need for a “bipartisan” “fix” for the mess that Obamacare has made of healthcare:Schumer’s fixes for Obamacare, however, would move us closer to a “single-payer,” that is Wetsern-European style, government-run healthcare.  More specifically, Schumer wants to “stabilize” the health insurance markets and add a “public option” to Obamacare.

Let’s start with “stabilizing.”  Under Obamacare, health insurers are required to cover people with preexisting conditions and offer what are called “essential health benefits.”  This makes health insurance far more expensive than it was pre-Obamacare, which is why we have seen stratospheric increases in premiums and deductibles in insurance purchased in what’s called the “individual market.”  Even these stratospheric level of increases, however, have not been sufficient for insurers to break even on Obamacare, as healthy people have been priced out or have decided that health insurance simply isn’t worth the cost.

“Stablilizing” the health insurance markets is a euphemism for government paying insurance companies to hold them harmless from the losses they sustain from offering Obamacare.  In other words, the premiums are lower than they should be, and the government makes up the difference.  Of course, the way the government makes up the difference is by taxes or borrowing.  In other words, part of the cost of healthcare is socialized.

Once you accept the premise that part of the individual market should be socialized, you have taken a gigantic step toward European-style “single-payer.”  Over time, the tendency will be to socialize more and more of the cost of health insurance and claim that the cost of health insurance is being kept under control.  Of course, costs aren’t being kept under control.  They are being hidden using “stabilization.”  That is, the costs are being transferred to third-parties.

The only real way to lower costs is free-market competition.  For example, by dropping the idea of one-size fits all “essential health benefits” —maternity coverage “essential” for people in their sixties and seventies, give me a break— and limiting how States can regulate health insurance: Trump’s famous debate-line about getting rid of the lines between the States.

The “public option” is a euphemism for government-run health insurance that would supposedly “compete” with private health insurance companies.  The problem is that government doesn’t have to turn a profit because, unlike the private sector, government has a limitless ability to tax and borrow.  The Post Office, for example, has been losing billions annually for the last decade, yet keeps chugging along because taxes and borrowing cover the costs not covered by postage.

Adding a “public option,” which can offer lower premiums that do not reflect the true cost of the coverage, will have the effect of driving private insurers out.  Another gigantic step toward European-style single-payer.

There is no bipartisan version of “stabilizing” health insurers or of the “public option” that does not move us closer to single-payer.  Both move us closer to single-payer, where cost of health insurance is paid for by heavy and ubiquitous taxation -much, much higher than what we have now- and government “controls” costs by rationing medical care: Charlie Gard, for example.

Unfortunately, RINOpublicans are not philosophically opposed to the concept of big-government and like to claim, like Democrats, that government can control costs, when all the government is doing is socializing, that is hiding, costs.  I expect RINOpublicans and Democrats will pass a “bipartisan compromise,” consisting of “stabilizing” and some fig-leaf for the RINOpublicans such as a reduction in an Obamacare tax.

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