Republicans really do want to take your health care away

And it’s kind of amazing because that is so politically unpopular.  So their solution has generally been to just lie, lie, lie.  Seriously, I know that sounds harsh, but that’s the reality.  Every time a Republican politicians goes out there and says that they are for protecting pre-existing conditions but refuses to actually support any of the related complex policy that makes that policy possible, they are flat-out lying.  But they do it time and time again (in large part, because so many journalists really don’t understand policy and let them get away with it).  And, some are telling themselves that they aren’t really lying because they support regulations that protect your pre-existing conditions if you move directly from one insurer to another with no breaks.  And only then.  But that is certainly not how most Americans understand pre-existing condition protection.

Anyway, Krugman is good on this:

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and Republican claims about health care.

O.K., it’s not news that politicians make misleading claims, some more than others. According to a running tally kept by Daniel Dale of The Toronto Star, as of Monday morning, Donald Trump had said 4,682 false things as president.

But G.O.P. health care claims are special, in several ways. First, they’re outright, clearly intentional lies — not dubious assertions or misstatements that could be attributed to ignorance or misunderstanding. Second, they’re repetitive: Rather than making a wide variety of false claims, Republicans keep telling the same few lies, over and over. Third, they keep doing this even though the public long ago stopped believing anything they say on the subject. [emphases mine]

This syndrome demands an explanation, and I’ll get there eventually. Before I do, however, let’s document the things that make G.O.P. health care lies unique…

But Mulvaney’s pre-existing conditions lie, along with his lie about nobody losing coverage if the lawsuit against Obamacare succeeds, was normal by G.O.P. standards. Which brings me to the second reason this particular form of lying is exceptional: Republicans just keep telling the same lies, over and over. Again and again they have promised to maintain coverage and protect pre-existing conditions — then offered plans that would cause tens of millions to lose health insurance, with the worst impact on those already suffering from health problems…

So what’s behind the persistence of R.H.L.S. — Republican health care lying syndrome?

Well, public opinion here is clear: Americans want everyone to have access to health care. There isn’t even that much of a partisan divide: An overwhelming majority of Republicans don’t believe insurance companies should be allowed to deny coverage or charge more to those with pre-existing conditions.

But there are only two ways to cover people with pre-existing conditions, and both are anathema to conservative ideology.

One is to have taxpayers pay the bills directly, which is what Medicare does.

The other combines regulation and subsidies. Insurance companies must be prohibited from discriminating based on medical history — a prohibition that must include preventing them from issuing bare-bones policies that will appeal only to those in good health — but that won’t do the job by itself. Healthy people must also be induced to sign up, to provide a good risk pool, which means subsidizing premiums for those with lower incomes and, preferably although not totally necessary, imposing a penalty on those without insurance.

If the second option sounds familiar, it should. It’s what countries like the Netherlands and Switzerland do; it’s also a description of, you guessed it, Obamacare.

But Republicans cannot admit that the only way to protect pre-existing conditions is to emulate Democratic policies. The party of Eisenhower, or even the party of Nixon, might have been able to do such a thing, but the party of Fox News cannot.

Nor, however, do Republicans dare admit that they have no interest in providing protection that a vast majority of voters demands. So they just keep lying.

You may, by the way, have heard talk about G.O.P. members of Congress opposed to Trump’s new health care push. But they share his goals; they’re just questioning his timing. The whole party still wants to take away your health care. It just hopes to get through the next election before you find out.

In all the recent reporting on Trump’s most recent lies about giving us better health care, what really frustrates me is how the reporting doesn’t basically scream out “he said this already and we got nothing with a Republican Congress.  The idea that now Trump and Republicans have something better than ACA for less money cooked up is as fantastical as the idea that wind turbines cause cancer.  And it should honestly be reported as such.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

3 Responses to Republicans really do want to take your health care away

  1. ragnarsbhut says:

    Wrong! The democrats are the true culprits.

  2. ragnarsbhut says:

    Steve, why do you say this?

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