As Obamacare continues its slow-motion collapse, liberals have latched onto a talking point: accusing Republicans of “sabotaging” the law by creating “uncertainty.” Nearly every elected Democrat, every major media outlet, and every liberal pundit has used the word to deflect attention from the unsustainability of the law.
Republicans have a long-standing position of calling for the repeal of Obamacare. So, for many of us, “sabotaging”—as in deliberately destroying, damaging, or obstructing—the ACA would be a welcome idea, as long as it wasn’t done illegally. The Obama administration ignored and weakened laws they didn’t agree with as a matter of policy. It would be nothing new.
That’s not the case, however. The word “sabotage” intimates that something corrupt or underhanded is afoot. The Democrat’s argument is that the Trump administration’s threat of ceasing the “cost-sharing reductions” subsidies for markets has undermined the viability of Obamacare exchanges. “Without them, insurers would have to jack up premiums to cover their costs or leave markets that would become deeply unprofitable to them,” The Washington Post wrote in a recent editorial, titled “The GOP’s Obamacare sabotage continues.”
There are a slew of things wrong with this accusation.
First of all, isn’t this exactly what conservatives had warned would happen when you created fake “markets?” Isn’t this exactly what the legislation was supposed to fix? When Obama was selling healthcare reform to the American people in 2009, he argued that the individual market exchanges would soon be almost entirely self-sufficient, driving down costs because insurance companies would have “incentive to participate in this exchange because it lets them compete for millions of new customers.”
As it turns out, the real incentive for many of these insurance giants was the presence of taxpayer subsides. Removing corporate welfare can’t “sabotage” a healthy marketplace, it can only expose the rickety infrastructure of a fabricated one. Nothing, it turns out, sabotages Obamacare quite as well as Obamacare.
Meanwhile, the Trump Administration hasn’t even stopped these payments. The President only threatened to withhold them, reportedly as a way to impel Democrats to negotiate on healthcare reform.
How can the president even threaten such a thing? Well, the Obama administration created cost-sharing reduction payments to entice insurance companies to participate in the exchanges. But since Congress had never appropriated any funding for such payments, Republicans argued that they were illegal. And, as the longstanding practice has it, they went to a court with the complaint. A federal court then found that Obama administration was acting unconstitutionally. The administration ignored the decision while appealing. (The specifics vary, of course, but imagine for a moment what the reaction would be if Trump simply snubbed a court’s position on, say, the travel ban.)
Congress has a responsibility to protect its Constitutional role—whatever drives them to do it is secondary. So there is no reason for Republicans to continue payments they claimed were illegal only a few months ago.
Yet, even with his threat, insurers had been fleeing Obamacare “markets” long before Trump was ever elected. The collapse of the individual market was predictable, and ongoing. Back in the days when most people assumed Hillary Clinton would be president, a Kaiser Family Foundation study estimated that over 664 counties would feature only a single insurer on Obamacare exchanges in 2017. In 2016, that number was 225.
“Sabotage,” literally means “to throw a shoe into a machine to wreak the machine.”
43 of the changes to the Affordable Care Act had been made unilaterally by the Obama administration, like:
Two-year Cadillac Tax delay
Cadillac tax allowed as a business expense
Two-year Medical Device Tax delay
Without an Obama in the White House, or a Hillary, to continue making these unilateral adjustments to ACA (Obamacare) it falls of its own weight.
If that’s “sabotage,” I’d like to see the shoe.
We’ve just got to take control of our language.
Stop letting the Left change the meanings of words all the time.
On the very day of his inauguration, Donald Trump issued an Executive Order that has effectively resulted in an end to any effective enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that everyone take responsibility for themselves by obtaining health insurance.
Mandated coverage is an absolutely essential component of any system designed to extend affordable health insurance to the greatest possible number of Americans. Removing the ability to penalize those who ignore that requirement of the law is a means of assuring the system’s failure. Claiming it isn’t is as honest as saying drivers must stop at stop signs and observe the speed limit to assure public safety, while simultaneously depriving the police of any effective means of enforcing the relevant laws.
The IRS has done as instructed, because they’re obliged to act on the instructions of the President.
Basically, David Harsanyi assertion that republicans aren’t sabotaging Obamacare is a load of horseshit. They’ve done everything in their power to kill it. They’ve talked non-stop in an effort to destroy the public’s confidence in the ACA, while busily kicking out its financial underpinnings at every accessable point.
This will come back on them in spades, because they’re clearly too effing stupid and disorganized to put together anything that will be viewed as an even remotely acceptable replacement. They’re probably going to throw the entire healthcare system into chaos—and then try to pin the blame on Obamacare, saying “Look! We told you!” Maybe some people will buy that as an argument that they shouldn’t be tarred and feathered. I won’t. I predict that when it falls, it’s going to land squarely on them.
@Greg: The government gives you nothing they havent robbed from someone else, I opted out and this year that cost me 2100.00 in additional federal taxes. It isn’t insurance coverage its a scam, with rates going up, insurance companies opting out, no choice as to coverage, like I need a prostrate exam or materity coverage or preschool dental.
I would rather pay for the first mammogram and have insurance coverage for rechecks and further steps deemed by the doctor. You cant even, like Medicare, get a supplemental, what trash, utter garbage 5k deductible is only coverage for the rich you fool.
If they cant figure out how to care for the 22 million vets why are they even trying anything for the rest?
The above screed sidesteps the reality of the GOP’s secrecy of and backroom deals in order to shift the money from ACA to their donors.
Of course the howling rabid right will engage in the smoke screen of blaming ACA as a flawed and failing law in order to sell this deceptive theft. Of course the avid Trump lickers will use this same nonsense to defend Trumps blatant lie that no one will be kicked off their insurance and that the pre-existing condition clause is here to stay.
Profound dishonesty, deception, and theft of the working man’s dollar to give to the rich is who the Republican party is to day and that’s all they are. And they couldn’t have pick a better con man to put in office to advance that agenda.