The danger of a Republican bailout of Obamacare is mounting with every passing day. Moderate Republicans calling themselves the Problem Solvers Caucus are quietly negotiating with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to throw a multibillion-dollar lifeline to the Obamacare insurance exchanges.
This bailout, of course, would be an epic betrayal by the Republican Party, which has promised to repeal and replace the financially crumbling health law.
Obamacare’s apologists object to the term “bailout” for this rescue package. The left prefers the euphemism “stabilizing the insurance market.” They claim this is merely a payment to low-income families to help pay for escalating premiums. These payments were allegedly always part of the law as passed.
The hypocrisy here is towering. These are the same people who told us over and over again that Obamacare was going to “bend the cost curve of health care down.” These are the same people who promised that Obamacare was going to save the average family $2,500 a year in insurance premiums.
These were also the same people who swore to us that Obamacare wasn’t going to raise the federal deficit by a dime. Oh, really? Where is the $10-20 billion to pay for this new federal subsidy going to come from? Pixie dust?
Incidentally, is there even one single Obamacare promise that has been kept after seven years?
So why is everyone suddenly rallying for an Obamacare bailout? The answer is simple. The new health law has given rise to an Obamacare-industrial complex. The health system is now like a junkie hooked on federal payments.
This addiction explains why the insurance companies are lobbying furiously for these funds alongside their newfound friends at left-wing interest groups such as the Center for American Progress. The irony of this alliance is that these left-wing “allies” hate insurance companies and want to abolish them. The insurance lobby is selling rope to its hangman.
Hospital groups, the American Medical Association and the AARP are joined by the Catholic Bishops, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association. (If you are donating money to any of these groups, you might want to think again.) This health care-industrial complex has only one solution to every Obamacare crackup: more regulation and more tax dollars.
Proponents argue that there was an innocent mistake in the language of the Affordable Care Act (imagine that — maybe next time they will read the bill before they vote on it) and that these bailout funds were intended to be automatic entitlement payments that would not have to be appropriated annually by Congress.
If they prevail, the insurance companies will get fatter and fatter checks from the government every year, no matter how much costs escalate. Financial accountability will be thrown out the window, and Obamacare will become an appendage of Medicaid, with exploding costs and a blank check from taxpayers.
This year the best estimate is that Obamacare will need at least $10 billion more to keep the system solvent. The death spiral in the program is intensifying with every passing month, so it’s highly predictable these costs will reach $20 billion next year and more in the years that follow.
You can call this a bailout or just a swindle of taxpayers who were fed a litany of lies about Obamacare’s virtues from the very start. Either way, taxpayers get shafted (again) and the Obamacare-industrial complex gets fat and happy. If Republicans are partners to this fiscal crime, then they are as culpable as the Democrats who passed this turkey in the first place and they certainly don’t deserve to be the governing party.
Stephen Moore is a senior economic analyst with CNN. His latest book is “Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy.” He served as a senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign. To find out more about Stephen Moore and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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