Before I get into Michael Hiltzik's consistently excellent health care columns over at the Los Angeles Times (this time regarding the Affordable Care Act), you must, must, must link over to this post by The Rude Pundit. It's about the new CBO report and the usual GOP willfully misleading spin. He totally skewers the right wing talking points like nobody else can. Go. Now. Yes, that's an order. I'll wait.
*tapping foot, looking at watch* Oh good, you're back. It was worth the trip over, wasn't it? Lee kicked major GOP ass while being informative in an easy-to-understand way that even conservatives can follow. Well, at least some of the less mentally deficient ones.
But back to Hiltzik. He continues where Rude left off in a new column here. Please give that a read, too.
Meantime, since we're on the subject of how Republicans gleefully lie and misinform America about the Affordable Care Act, Michael Hiltzik rips into the GOP health care plan, describing it as offering "less coverage, less choice, less access." I'm sorry, did I refer to it as a health care plan? My bad.
Here are some excerpts, but they're not going to do Hiltzik's column justice, so hop over and read it all here:
The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act ("CARE") bears the names of Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah). It preserves some of the things people like about the Affordable Care Act--insurance for those with pre-existing conditions, for example--but does so in a way that's guaranteed to fail most of those affected. Among other things, it eliminates minimum coverage standards written into the ACA, including items like maternity coverage, which will inevitably make insurance more expensive for women relative to men.
Oh those sly Republicans, going out of their way to alienate women again. They can't seem to grasp the concept of, you know, outreach.
And did you catch their tried and true use of a word that means the opposite of what their measure (it's not even a bill yet) represents? "CARE". Seriously?
[T]wo provisions perpetuate two issues with the Affordable Care Act most often cited by its critics: people discovering they can't see their previous doctors or go to their choice of hospitals; and older enrollees being confronted with sticker shock at the premiums on exchange-issued individual plans. The CARE Act acknowledges that narrow provider networks are a fact of life in the healthcare market, and allows higher premiums for older consumers than the ACA.
What's that word again? Oh yeah:
The GOP plan cuts off premium subsidies at 300% of the poverty line, compared to 400% for the ACA. That means millions of Americans would be left without financial assistance provided by Obamacare. The Republicans would exclude all non-citizens from financial assistance, even those here legally; since nearly 20% of the uninsured are non-citizens, that's another huge exclusion.
And wait until you see what they do to the extremely popular part of President Obama's health care plan that covers pre-existing conditions.
Doesn't all this sound swell? Apparently Burr, Coburn, and Hatch think so.
In sum, the CARE Act is a bill of rights for health insurers and an unaffordable invoice for millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans. The analysis by the Center for Health and Economy says that by 2023 it would cover 244 million people; but the Congressional Budget office says the ACA will cover 256 million.
From the GOP standpoint, the bill's virtue lies in those words "choice," "responsibility" and "empowerment," which are Republican shibboleths. But it undermines the affordability and accessibility of health insurance in countless ways, and it should be shunned like a bad disease.
Bad disease, indeed. There's only one way we can inoculate ourselves against that: Vote Republicans out of office, stat!