House Republicans Introduce Yet Another Cunning Plot to Destroy Obamacare

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Ed Kilgore points us today to the latest state-of-the-art healthcare thinking from conservatives. House Republicans have a plan to take money away from Obamacare implementation and shift it to a high-risk pool that’s currently underfunded. Some conservatives are apparently objecting to this because they think it “fixes” Obamacare and they want nothing to do with that. One of the bill’s supporters sets them straight:

Instead, it effectively cannibalizes ObamaCare to impede its implementation. The bill would transfer $4,000,000,000 (four billion dollars) from an ObamaCare implementation slush fund to a program called the Pre-Existing Condition Plan, or PCIP. The slush fund is a big pot of money the Administration is using to set up exchanges in states that refuse to set them up (a resistance we’ve strongly encouraged). 

….PCIP is not, in itself, a good program. But if Congress had enacted only PCIP in 2010, instead of ObamaCare, America would be in a much, much better place today. Now, I agree with those conservatives who hold that preex pool programs should be state- rather than federally run. But the harm here is slight, because PCIP is scheduled to expire on December 31st of this year. It’s a temporary subsidy, remember.

There’s an almost charming honesty to this. Here’s the plan:

  1. Take money away from the program to set up federal exchanges.
  2. Use the money to temporarily fund an admittedly crappy program.
  3. Victory! By 2014, the crappy program will be gone and federal exchanges won’t exist. Obamacare will be in tatters.

I can’t respond too much better than Ed: “Pretty plain, eh? Give sick people without insurance temporary access to crappy private plans at exorbitant rates as part of a strategy aimed at pulling the rug out from under them entirely at the end of the year, all the while mewling about one’s concern for sick people.”

I hear a lot these days about “reformist” conservatives who are trying to move the Republican Party in a new, more serious direction. I’ve become pretty skeptical of this whole movement, which seems to be about an inch deep, but I’d be a lot less skeptical if they took on nonsense like this and actually fought it.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest