Printed letters, November 14, 2013

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We have been duped. Just look at our once GREAT America. About 700 elitists destroying it. This is the precursor to single payer-ie wealth redistribution (only middle and lower class being redistributed) welfare medical plan offered up by our all seeing all knowing government. This is the single most obvious need for term limits, elimination of lobbyists and on and on and on.

Bruce Taylor’s letter – “GOP has indeed put forth many health care reforms” – suggests that he has been profoundly confused by Republican propaganda.

Yes, the “GOP has indeed put forth many health care reforms”.  Collectively, they are now called the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” of 2010 (“ACA”).

As Dr. Pramenko previously chronicled, virtually every element of the ACA – including the “individual mandate”—originated with Republicans.  The Heritage Foundation, Club 20, and Colorado’s Blue Ribbon Commission all endorsed the ACA’s “market-driven” approach, which was successfully tested in Massachusetts under Republican Governor Romney.  Only after President Obama reluctantly embraced their ideas did Republicans cynically abandon them.

Moreover, the ACA did not “destroy reasonable health insurance markets for millions in order to assist those in need”.  Indeed, the ACA “grandfathered” all then-existing policies – attempting to fulfill the promise that “if you like your current policy, you can keep it”. 

However, there is now increasing evidence that many health insurers deliberately “baited and switched” insureds out of their “grandfathered” policies into non-compliant policies – knowing (but not informing purchasers) those policies would have to be cancelled by January 1, 2014

While anti-ObamaCare Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) conceded in September that the GOP has no credible alternative to the ACA (other than reversion to the previous dysfunctional “system” that the ACA was intended to reform), Taylor cites the elements of H.R. 3400 (now H.R. 3121), recently touted by Scott (“Tea Party”) Tipton.

That “Republican alternative” remains in committee, has not yet been “scored” by the CBO, could cost $100 billion more annually than the ACA, taxes all employer-paid premiums as income, undercuts state regulation of health insurers, permits discrimination based on “pre-existing conditions”, and relies on discredited “high risk pools”.

Therefore, “it is dishonest to say that these are . . . real reforms”.

With daily headlines (“Health care rollout numbers intensify concern, criticism”) fueling grounds for pessimism – and with vulnerable Democrats scrambling for political cover – Alan Metcalfe’s letter (“Pramenko has rosy view of leviathan health law”) is entirely understandable.

However, as John Trammel’s companion letter (“If Obamacrae won’t fix rising health care costs, what will?”) suggests, Metcalfe—and Bruce Taylor’s “GOP has indeed put forth many health care reforms”—repeat the same error that he accuses Dr. Pramenko of committing:  their “Pollyanna view belies the outrageous quackery that is” inherent in “Republican alternatives” to the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).

Metcalfe (like Congressman Scott “Tea Party” Tipton) touts the American Health Care Reform Act of 2013 (H.R. 3121) as a proposal “that could be amended in some ways to partially ameliorate” Dr. Pramenko’s concerns.  Metcalfe’s question-begging reference to unspecified amendments typifies Republicans’ reliance on “monstrous ruses” to mislead the gullible into believing that they are offering a credible “alternative”.

The primary objective of H.R. 3121 is to repeal “ObamaCare” – which would neither “ameliorate the doctor’s concerns”, nor those of millions who already benefit from it.

Meanwhile, H.R. 3121 remains in committees—apparently still in search of Metcalfe’s nebulous “amendments”—because it would cover far fewer currently uninsureds than the ACA, would cost some $100 billion more annually than the ACA, benefits higher income taxpayers more than lower, relies on “high risk pools” akin to those that failed in several states, and undercuts the authority of state insurance regulators.

The American Health Care “Reform” Act would perpetuate discrimination based on “pre-existing conditions” by protecting only those with “continuous coverage” and relegating others to “high risk pools” with doubly unaffordable premiums – thereby defeating the purpose of a nationwide “risk pool” and competitive insurance markets (the approach that has proven successful in Massachusetts).

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