Yesterday brought the news that two influential Senators had hammered out a bipartisan agreement that would temporarily resolve Obamacare’s newly-expanded ‘cost-sharing’ subsidies dispute. After President Trump ended his predecessor’s illegal payments to insurers (ruled unconstitutional by the federal courts because the funds were never appropriated by Congress, as required), industry experts warned that the move would force premiums and costs even higher, as carriers seek to mitigate even bigger financial losses than the ones that have already driven providers out of marketplaces from coast to coast. The Alexander-Murray compromise would legally allocate those bailout-style funds for two years, in exchange for very minor concessions from Democrats regarding state flexibility and catastrophic plans. Trump appeared initially supportive of the deal but has walked that back a bit — as Paul Ryan signals that the proposed trade-offs are woefully insufficient to attract House Republican support. The fate of the whole “fix” push, therefore, remains murky.
Democrats, meanwhile, are again advocating the addition of a so-called “public option” to Obamacare, which would undercut private offerings with an artifically-cheaper, taxpayer-subsidized government plan. This would effectively destroy private insurance in the individual market, a fact of which its supporters are well aware; in fact, they embrace it. Why? It would usher in the “need” for a socialized single-payer regime highly prized by the Democratic Party’s dominant left flank. We’ve written before about why it’s a totally unaffordable, wildly-disruptive scheme — Bernie and friends have no answers on these devastating fiscal realities — but it’s also immoral. When the government controls your healthcare, they control you. And when the government bites off more than it can chew, rationing, substandard care, and long wait-lists for treatment inevitably follow. This isn’t a hypothetical. Under the UK’s chronically under-funded and scandal-plagued NHS system, the government bureaucrats end up micromanaging family decisions and banning effective and groundbreaking new treatments on account of cost. And when things get really tight, they cook up even more draconian edicts. Tough luck, smokers and overweight Britons: