The GOP Senate caucus seems to be struggling with the same fight that their colleagues in the House did just a couple of months ago.
While House Republicans were eventually able to pass a new Healthcare bill through their chamber, the Senate may have a more difficult task before them. On Sunday, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation to defend the healthcare bill and argue that it is an important first step towards fixing our healthcare crisis.
As far as some of my conservative friends who are concerned that the bill doesn’t go far enough, I’m sympathetic about the kinds of reforms they would like the make to lower premiums through more market forces and greater freedom on the part of consumers, but I see this bill as a first step, a first important step in the direction of repealing those portions of Obamacare that we can, stabilizing the individual market, which is collapsing, and making important reforms to Medicaid. It’s not the last step.
One conservative voice that doesn’t agree with Toomey is Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who appeared on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Paul argues that the new GOP healthcare bill is simply a “bailout” for insurance companies and it doesn’t fix the “death spiral.” In fact, he argues that the GOP bill acknowledges that the death spiral will continue, but it provides for more taxpayer dollars to be used as a Band-Aid on the death spiral.
The fundamental flaw of Obamacare was that it added regulations to insurance, mandates, which made insurance more expensive, but then it also told individuals, you know what, if you don’t want to buy now, you can wait and buy it after you’re sick. That still remains, 10 of 12 regulations that add cost to insurance remain under the Republican bill. And we still say you can still by insurance after you’re sick.
If you add those two together, you still get the death spiral. The Republican plan acknowledges that we’re going to still have this death spiral, which is sicker and sicker people in the individual market and the healthy people don’t buy insurance, they acknowledge this by putting over $100 billion of insurance bailout money to try to say, oh we’re going to tamp down prices. We’re going to fix the problem, we’re going to acknowledge the will continue forever and we’re just going to pile taxpayer money into it. That is just not a conservative notion to add a new federal program to bailout insurance programs.