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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Arsenic was a poison favored by Victorian mystery writers. The victims would be fed small amounts, not suspecting the cause of their increasing discomfort. At a certain point, the arsenic buildup would send them into organ failure and death.

The Republican House health care plan would apply a similar slow-working toxin to the Affordable Care Act. In this case, many of the millions enrolled in Obamacare would not realize what’s happening to their health care until it’s too late.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s approach has drawn fire from conservative groups that want to basically repeal the whole thing. They scorn the American Health Care Act as “Obamacare Lite,” hardening an entitlement. These conservatives deserve points for honesty. Their fix for Obamacare is a beheading — quick and efficient. Everyone would know it’s dead.

That said, the conservatives are giving Ryan and his colleagues too little credit. Their plan also sets up Obamacare for collapse — and again, with the advantage of keeping its beneficiaries in the dark.

For starters, they would maintain current funding for the Medicaid expansion until 2020. Thus, many of the 11 million low- and moderate-income working families receiving subsidies wouldn’t appreciate the consequences for several years.

That’s when the tax credits would shrink to a shadow of what they are under Obamacare. Rural areas would get hit hardest. In Chadron, Nebraska, for example, the subsidy would be cut by more than half, from $6,670 under Obamacare to $3,000 under the Republican House plan.

Many have complained about high deductibles, and understandably so. However, Obamacare does offer some financial assistance for such out-of-pocket costs. That would be gone under the House plan.

The bill would provide $15 billion to the states for “high-risk pools” covering sick people private insurers don’t want to touch. But in 2020, that federal subsidy would shrivel to $10 billion.

The bill would end the individual mandate requiring everyone to obtain insurance or pay a fine. That would encourage the young and healthy to drop their coverage, leaving a weakened insurance pool heavy with expensively ill patients.

Yes, the plan also would impose a 30 percent surcharge on those who drop their insurance but later want to sign on. Makes sense until you ask: Who would later sign on? The answer is people who’ve suddenly discovered they have a serious medical condition and need the coverage.

After all, insurers still could not charge more to those with pre-existing conditions. Seeing as the penalty would probably be far lower than the costs the patients are facing, they’d surely want to secure coverage. In sum, getting rid of the mandate this way would encourage the healthy to leave and the unhealthy to join.

Subsidies would be tied to age. A 60-year-old would receive $4,000 in tax credits, and a 25-year-old $2,000. That sounds somewhat OK, given that older people tend to have more health issues. However, the proposal would let insurers charge 60-year-olds rates up to five times more than they bill young people (versus three times now). So there would go the tax credit advantage — and then some.

More bad incentives. Many people ages 60 to 64 who are in relatively good shape might drop coverage, wagering that in the event of a health crisis, they could crawl across the age 65 line and into the promised land of Medicare. Those with already high health costs would stay in the Republican plan, further burdening the program.

President Trump has given the House plan his blessing. But given the squads of Republicans, never mind Democrats, arrayed against it, the House bill seems destined for an early demise. And it would be no mystery why.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at

IMAGE: Ted Eytan / Flickr

49 Responses to A Devious Plot To Poison Obamacare

  1. The repeal of the ACA is being justified under false pretenses, including claims that beneficiaries cannot go to a doctor of their choice, that the government imposes its will on the beneficiaries, and that the insured are paying astronomical premiums and co-pays. Under the ACA, people join an exchange, which allows them to bargain for lower premiums by doing from a position of strength, instead of a lonely applicant looking for coverage. Dependent on which insurance company plan a person chooses they can go to whichever doctor or hospital they choose. Referrals and specific doctors and medical facilities are mandated by the insurance companies for those who choose minimal coverage. Co-pays are usually in the $20 range per visit, which is similar to what people with insurance provided by their employers have to pay. Eliminating the mandate simply means that those who depended on Emergency Room freebies before the ACA became law, will go back to that form of Republican socialism. Needless to say, hospitals that have to absorb part of the ER costs have no choice but to raise charges, and government reimbursements go up. The exact opposite to personal responsibility. Replacing subsidies with tax credits will only help the wealthy. Those struggling to make ends meet, and who cannot afford high insurance company premiums, will be left out in the cold. Tax credits will not help those with minimal tax obligations. In any case, tax credits, which translate to less government revenues is a form of subsidized medical care under a different name. This whole exercise is driven by a desire to increase insurance company revenues, strong lobbying by the AMA, greed, ideology, and a desire to poke a finger in the legacy of our first African American president. Logic and a sense of humanity are not part of the equation.

    • Emergency room traffic has increase since Obamacare. Exchanges are dwindling every day. Insurance companies are pulling out of Obamacare. Rates are increasing as much by double and triple digits. People DID lose their doctors and insurance policies. The whole Obamacare system was designed to fail, so the government could take complete control of the healthcare of every citizen. It is just another step toward a completely socialist government. Americans have died in wars to preserve our right to choose, not be forced by a socialist government to buy any product.

      • emergency traffic does not increase because of a medical insurance i dont know what your talking about as far as the rates were increasing for obama care but whatever it was it was much cheaper than what they are trying to pass now with a lot more coverage. yes and trump is trying to force us to buy this new outrageously priced insurance he is coming up with that is very low coverage and outrageously priced

        • Obama told us how emergency room traffic would go down after passing Obamacare. It went up. With their insurance card in hand people starting going to the emergency room for every cold, nick, and everything else. Try getting informed on how much the rates have increased. In Arizona alone rates went up 112% this year. What the new plan does is give people the right to pick what coverages they want, not mandated coverages as Obamacare does. I don’t know if you have Obamacare, but if you do, you are paying for maternity coverage. Do you expect to have a baby anytime soon? It is mandated for every person on Obamacare. How many 60 year olds do you know having babies? The President wants to give individuals the right to pick and choose their coverages, not what some Senator orders them to buy. Allowing people to shop over state lines will also lower the costs of insurance policies. Obamacare is dying on the vine and needs to be fixed, or replaced.

          • Wow, so much nonsense. I have had a private, non work, insurance plan for decades. Premiums have always gone up. The ACA did not dictate doctors or premiums, private insurance companies did that.

          • Do you actually read anything I post or do you just make things up as you go along? Every damn fool knows that rates have always gone up. I say do things to lower rates, like going across state lines to be able to purchase insurance. I say don’t make people pay for services they can never use, like making a man pay for maternity care. How does making a man pay for delivering a baby help the man? The ACA did dictate rates by putting mandated coverage for every person regardless of their sex, age, needs. The ACA did dictate doctors by making more and more regulations for doctors to follow. I personally talked with a doctor that had to hire one part time person just to handle the added paper work.

          • I always read your posts. It is always worth a laugh for them being so stilted and moronic. Only right wingers keep arguing these non important issues. You forget that now the policies are actually worth their premiums. No more people with limits, losing their policies when they get sick or when the insurance company finds a typo in the policy. No more refusal of service especially for cancers and surgeries

            Also the rise in premiums and number of insurance companies in Blue states are not that bad. I just helped a friend get insurance from Covered California. She said that this is the best she has had in years. Insurance companies , except for a few who could not merge know that people can afford their policies. I guess they also figure that in a Blue state the insurance company will lose in court since they do not own the politicos.

          • maybe health care isn’t important to you, but it is to me. Obamacare is a complete failure whether morons like you believe it or not. You refuse to realize that the insurance companies will not stay in the exchanges and want to give more control of your life to the governments. You make a good socialist.

      • The fact that 20 million Americans are getting comprehensive medical care through the ACA suggest that there are plenty of insurance companies doing business with individuals that join the ACA exchanges.
        People that did not have coverage before the ACA, and who relied strictly on ER care, did not have a permanent doctor. They do now, under the ACA.
        Americans have died as a result of having inadequate or no health insurance for decades. People finally got the medical care they need when the ACA became law.
        As for socialized programs, I much rather pay for the ACA than see my tax dollars go to wealthy farmers like Michelle Bachman, or spent on more aircraft carriers at a time when we have more carrier groups than the rest of the world combined.

        • The fact that both Athena and Humana are pulling out of the ACA is proof the insurance companies are and will be pulling out of the exchanges. Some already have only one company to “choose” from. Carrier groups are great, to bad something like over 50% of their airplanes are not air worthy. Where did I or anyone else say we should give tax dollars to wealthy farmers? You just said people with insurance used the ER. By law the ER rooms had to treat those people. People did lose their doctors and insurance policies because of Obamacare. The current ACA is dying on the vine and if we don’t get a replacement, then there will be no coverages at all. The mandates are terrible. I don’t know if you have Obamacare, you are paying for maternity coverage for when you deliver your next baby.

          • You’re the ideal poster boy for an over-sized materialist approach to problem-solving and how you relate to people.

            Your reality at this point revolves around a single axis whose constituent elements are: Policy, Process, Procedure, and Profit.

            Add a nativist/isolationist twist to your mix and we have the portrait of an individual defined by materialism and devoid of any vestige of morality and spiritual connection. Your approach, and that of the GOP, has devolved to the point of seeing the world and offering solutions strictly for the sake of efficiency and utility. I’ve yet to see you express an idea or point of view that shows you know how to connect on any level with others, except in a shallow way. Trump and the GOP share the same approach to humans as you.

            Is there any chance that you could edify your heart, and then modify your stance, or do you care to at all?

          • That is not true in “Blue states” like California or New York. I guess no one really wants to insure red states. You keep quoting that people lost their doctors because of the ACA. The truth is that the insurance companies took away the doctors since they set the doctor and hospital networks not the ACA.

          • You are wrong and making up things again. Obamacare is a failure and you just can’t admit that. You are probably one that believes Hillary won the election.

          • Just in case you aren’t aware of how a President is elected in the nation, there is a thing called the electoral college which gives smaller populated states a word in who wins.

          • You do love you BS. Unlike you I am not an ideologue. Therefore my mind can actually work for itself. I do not have to repeat what your bosses tell to to say.

          • You should know what BS is, because that is what you are full of. You lie and lie. I doubt if you have a mind. You only post what the left tells you to post. I have never read where you have had even one original thought. Keep living in your fantasy world and keep helping the Democrats lose elections.

          • I live in California so I do not need to dream and pretend how things are. Keep trying. Your BS is better than Jimmy Fallon. Me and the boys down at the sports bar just love to read your stupid posts. They are so full of holes we call them Swiss cheese logic from the lost past. Are all conservatives so dimwitted?

          • They are pulling out because they are trying to have the largest merger of health providers in the history of the country. As ACA members, this means their entire policy structure will be subject to HHS scrutiny.

      • Why would insurance companies continue in a system you and the Repubs have sworn to end? The Repub healthcare plan to replace the ACA would greatly increase their profits. Your statements on this subject are therefore nonsensical.

        • Why would a insurance company leave a system that the government orders every citizen to purchase. That is a guaranteed income for a private company. The new plan will allow private companies to offer lower cost policy options to citizens. If their profits increase, it will because citizens will be able to afford policies with the coverage they want. How many new government employees have we paid for that just handle the paperwork for Obamacare? How many new employees have doctors and insurance companies and hospitals been forced to hire just to handle the Obamacare paperwork?

          • It’s easy. They are being told they cannot exclude pre-existing conditions, nor can they charge more for it. They are not allowed to charge seniors on private coverage 5x what they charge for folks in their 20s. And they are being told they cannot impose lifetime caps. If they do not participate in the ACA pools, they don’t have to comply with those limitations.

          • Like I have said the Obamacare system was designed to fail, so the government could completely take over our health care and then decide who could be treated and who couldn’t. Those regulations forced high rates and deductibles. Even giving the companies subsidies didn’t help. Obama want a complete and total take over of yours and my healthcare.

          • In other words you want go back the the system we had before with useless policies. You pay until you need to use it and then whine about being cheated. To you insurance profits are more important than sick people. Yeah, let us go back to tax payers paying for people using emergency care, then having the medical companies charging the rest of us to cover their loses. Maybe now red state citizens will wake up and decide to stop bering cheated.

          • you said you read what I post. If you did you would know what I believe health care should be. Since you don’t know, it proves you lied about reading everything I post.

  2. Considering a significant number of Senate GOP members are opposed to it – some because their “Libertarian” (i.e. Reactionary) feelings are opposed to any Federal Government programs, others, mostly from rural states, who recognize this will be a catastrophe for people who live there both medically and financially. Then, we have those wonderfully, obstructionist members of the so-called “Freedom Caucus” who are opposed to any legislation not proposed by them.
    So, I wouldn’t say its Dead on Arrival. I would say it miscarried.

  3. The arsenic analogy is most appropriate when describing the efforts of the GOP to compromise Americans for the sake of their egos and of course their false god known as “Fiscal Resposibility”. This nefarious effort by the GOP in regards to the healthcare issue is fueled on several fronts through what I see as morally indefensible modes of thinking and levels of personal interactions.

    1) The entire political structure through which the question of healthcare is being debated is riddled with deficiencies of character and lack of spirituality, as clearly evident in the attitude and behavior of the GOP as a whole, by Trump naturally, and the divisive nature of the political structure which operates first and foremost from a starting point of confrontation and a gladiator-style fight-to-the-death approach to problem solving. Consensus and consultation are seen by the Right Wing as effete, not “manly”, and a sign of weakness.(Something that autocrats like Putin, Trump, and the like can easily relate to and appreciate).
    2) The GOP, as stated by others and me numerous times, is most of all driven by materialist and purely monetary principles, with moral character and sentiments along the line of altruism, reciprocity, compassion, and the like summarily dismissed as subjects to be concerned with only on Sunday(or Saturday). This has led over the decades to an equivalent of “hardening of the arteries” on a spiritual level when it comes especially to the raison d’etre of the GOP.
    3) The fixation on formality, a labyrinth of rules, regulations, political procedures, etc. are the products of centuries of an anal delight in formalizing every aspect of human interaction—little wonder that those Modern Humans who settled in Europe, and many of their predecessors who would immigrate to the US and Canada, would become entrapped in this complex web of formality to the point that a committee has to be formed to see who washes the dishes or takes out the garbage, and on what days.

    Trump’s eccentric and emotionally retarded behavior is one sign of the effects of this centuries-old debilitating manner of social behavior and preoccupation with money and material well-being, and the GOP epitomizes the asinine perspective of feeling obliged to bury the immediate needs of society, especially its most vulnerable citizens, under a huge mound of rules as though it is some religious obligation, procedures, and laced with the arsenic of irreligion, greed, and a need to assert power and influence in a primeval and tribal manner.

    In summary, the entire body of the GOP is dictated by a cold, calculating, and mechanical personality and way of interacting with fellow humans. The GOP in particular is showing to us the effects of displacing religion and a foundation of moral values, which emanate from the essence of Religion, and putting in place the false god of “expediency and fiscal concerns over empathy and concern for other humans”.
    In effect, the GOP has been transformed into a Frankenstein monster, conceived and built with its own hands and deficient minds, its soul gutted out, and totally lacking in a moral character as an institution. Partisan politics as a concept only prolongs this state of being, which can only result in protracted human suffering, misery, and loss of life by neglect or encouraging simple-mined misfits in society to rant and rail against minority elements in society. And Putin and other Russian officials in large measure contribute to this dreary state of affairs.

  4. this is how the sneaky snakes of the GOP gang of pinheads work to throw off the people . just like and taking a page out of the DONNY DUMP DUMPSTERS BOOK (not that thy need a page out of the dirt bags book ) for the gang of pinheads book is the nastiest book already. thy are doing their DUMP-DONT-CARE health plan and to throw off people thy are trying to fool all with a 3 stage plan . thy want to just get the trash plan in and fast trying just so its on the books not as many people will understand it and maybe be fooled that the next part of the 3 plan thinking that it will get better . but it gets worse its just the pinheads trying once again to pull the BULL over on the people . PEOPLE WHATS WRONG WITH YOU BY KEEPING PUTTING THESE GANG OF PINHEADS into office all that’s bad thy the GOP know with putting them in office all the bad doings is on our own hands and even the pinheads can switch the blame to us the people . saying all the bad is the fault of WE THE PEOPLE

  5. We need a reasonable health insurance system and a less expensive healthcare. How do we get it? We get it by being involved at all levels. Challenge your Senators and House Representatives. Challenge the health insurance companies and greedy doctors by forming “Citizens Health Forums” and shaming them in every medium available. To get what you want and need you must fight for it..

  6. We have to either fix, dismantle, replace Obamacare. It is failing and becoming a complete disaster. Like the President says, we could let it go for 2 more years and watch it die on the vine, or we can replace it. We need health care alternatives for all citizens. The mandated insurance coverages are nuts. Men have to buy maternity care for when they have a baby. Women have to buy ED insurance to help them when they can perform. That is just one example of the craziness of the mandated coverages. I don’t care what it is called “Obamacare, Trumpcare, ACA, Obamatrumpcare”, but what we have must be fixed or replaced. Allow people to go across state lines. Allow people in non union shops be able to get with other people in non union shops and get group rates like the folks working in places like GM, Government agencies, etc.

    • No we do not have to FIX, dismantle or replace Obamacare. It is your Republican states who have the greatest number who are uninsured. Not the Dem states. That simply means that the right wing expects Dems states to pay for your uninsured because they can’t pay for it on Walmartian wages supplemented by welfare.

      No man on Medicare needs women to pay for HIS Viagra. Sorry but women are pissed off that men stick their noses into women’s healthcare and then demand they get their Viagra so they can impregnate more women they’ll bitch are on welfare.

      People can already go across state lines. But they don’t. Here’s why. In NJ and NY insurance rates are higher. Not because we are sicker. Because our premiums are padded by those who cannot pay for their own.

      Obamacare needs a few tweaks. That is it. Trump Care is Death care and it will hit the uninsured in the Republican states far more than the higher paid in Dem states. Who can pay for insurance on a Walmartian wage?

      • I live in one of those deplorable red states. Three of my children had to move out to find better wages for their services. So, in my mind, that is one more thing the republicans have taken from me.

        • Our NJ Governor Fat Mouth is proof that these middle aged Republican and right wing men leave one important factor out of their Get Rich Quick Schemes: We the people.

          Governor Fat Mouth refused to set up a state run ACA agency. NY’s Governor did not. As a result NJ pays 11% more for healthcare than NY.

          As a Canadian friend of mine once said, “How good can American healthcare be if you can’t afford it?

    • Can you point to a single metric about Obamacare that backs up your claim and isn’t a result of deliberate sabotage? No? OK, can you explain what problems Trumpcare solves? No? Weird! It’s almost like you’re a boot-licking sycophant or something.

  7. In case you’re wondering: the average tax break for anyone earning under $200K is 0% and $0 //and DONNY DUMP wants to give those people a $20 tax break so he can give the ones (that really dont need it ) that make $200,000 + a tax break of $50,000 and up for the more you make the bigger your tax break///The leaks coming out of the Trump White House cast the president as a clueless child. pretty much rightfully so for he’s been clueless from hatching and or birth and is only getting more clueless more every day

  8. So I watched the Congressional House and Senate sessions yesterday on TrumpCare. Let’s make sure we call this savage Republican plan what it is: TRUMP’s DEATHCARE.

    There went Ryan, lying through his ultra expensive dental work in his expensive suit repeating over and over…”Obamacare is a disaster.” Then you get that Corn Pone King from Oklahamo parroting “Obamacare is a disaster” followed by another half dozen Mutton Chops and Corn Pone Kings getting in on the feast.

    To be truthful, they did show sympathy. For the “markets” and the “companies” who all have line items in their annual corporate budgets for Republican campaign donations. Trumpcare is death care because if you read the part about how they want to make it less expensive for the younger generation to be insured and more expensive for the older generation, you see clearly the HUGE extortion of Big Insurance at work.

    Sure they want to insure those under age 40. They’ll be paying for premiums for 2 or more decades. All pure profit for Big Insurance since too few of them will ever file any claims and get some use out of what they are paying for. But now, reach age 40 and you become too too too much cost for Big Insurance because you might actually have to get what you paid for. Do the math. You take out a policy at age 20 and pay until you are age 45 without a single claim. That’s tens of thousands in premiums you’ve paid. Just file a claim at age 45 and the premiums double or triple so that Big INsurance doesn’t lose a dime of what you paid for all your life.

    Then, there is the part of Trump’s Deathcare that will hurt those most vulnerable and indigent. The clause in there defunds the very charities and hospitals that have offered care to the uninsured. All while Ratso Ryan, Chafing Chaffetz, McComical McConnell and the rest of the Good Ole Good Ole boys get their healthcare courtesy of taxpayers who have NONE.

    Still glad the billionaire right wingers need your tax dollars to keep them in business? Still glad right wingers are using Nazi labels on liberals, progressives and moderates who want what they paid for?

  9. the DUMPSTER is saying now let the ACA fail and blame it on the DEMS never higher he is then clueless . HEY DONNY DUMP its still on your watch . and its your lies and it would be you not doing what you said (LYING ) you ran on all things that your BRAIN DEAD followers wanted to hear . now you’re going to back out of something else you promised . hmmmmmmmm like every thing else you promised . you only added KAOS to the country with your junky addicted seeking attention for your fix and your useless EGO

  10. Here is how you KNOW for certain the Republican men and Trump are lying:
    Ratso Ryan says: “Obamacare is a “disaster.”
    Trump says: “Obamacare is a disaster.”
    McConnell says: “Obamacare is a disaster.”
    Cornball Cornyn says: “Obamacare is a disaster.”

    These guys are buffoons who ALL read from the same Republican script. The keyword being their favorite: “Disaster.” And this is what they expect us to fall for?

  11. The arsenic is a good way to put this, but republicans haven’t just started this poison, they’ve been poisoning the ACA since its inception. If you think about it the ACA has an amazing constitution, to not only survived that poisoning but gained popularity even with the poison weakening it. Could you imagine if republicans were actual human beings, and said lets work to improve the law for the benefit of Americans?

    The article makes another good point, the preexisting conditions (which i haven’t realized myself) could give people a chance to buy in when sick, but given the bill seeks to kill people i think this “flaw” is a good thing. Mum should have been the word here, because republicans may want to fix this as it could help some people. One obvious flaw is that they would charge someone 30% more for a lapse in coverage when the reason for the lapse is most likely sickness or hardship. How then can they pay 30% more for something they couldn’t pay before the penalty?

    Republicans have no souls, they want the sick and poor to die, and they want to make rich people richer at the expense of the poor. I can’t even apply any adjectives in a bad sense, because that would give them an identity, and any bad things they are can’t improve, because they aren’t actual human beings. They are mutants of any human spirit who are programmed to only empower themselves

  12. whats wrong with people in office these days mainly the GOP & DONNY DUMP thy all want to take money from plaves that need it for the people of the country . and then thy want to turn around and give more money back in tax breaks and or what ever to the rich greedy ones that don’t even need the money . if be it one really wanted to balance the country out ( its all there ) all the money that is needed and all it would take is something simple and fair . just make every one (EVERY ONE THE SAME TO BE FAIR TO ALL ) PAYS THE SAME OF A % PERCENTAGE % IN TAXES no more no less just the same all around . if this was to be the USA would be out of problems in no time . and after out of trouble it would only be making the USA better and better . its WE THE PEOPLE all of us are the same and with that do and pay the same . problem solved & fixed

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