April 25, 2017

Trump has been having a hissy fit for the past two weeks over the fact that Trumpcare didn't get a vote on the House floor. To that end, he has demanded they continue to revisit their original proposals until they gut healthcare enough to satisfy the Billionaire Boyz and the 30 percent of Americans who think the ACA should die along with many, many more Americans.

There are rumblings afoot that a compromise has been reached. But rather than reaching it with the less conservative (but still crazy) wing of the House Republicans, it appears to be a deal with the House Freedom Caucus to hurt as many Americans as possible.

Sarah Kliff at Vox reports that the newest proposal will gut the pre-existing conditions ban and the community ratings, which require that everyone be pooled together rather than charging each individual based upon their health conditions.

Also included in the amendment: States can choose to opt out of the essential health benefits package just because they feel like it. So in Alabama, people might pay nothing for insurance and get less than nothing in return, for example.

The net effect of an amendment like this would be to destabilize the entire insurance market, not just the individual market. Insurers would have to comply with each state's specific rules regarding pre-existing conditions, for example.

Medicaid would be gutted, just as in the previous versions, and the tax credits won't cover the insurance costs for enough people that 24 million or so will lose insurance.

Mucking up the insurance markets this way is how Medicare passed, by the way. Conservatives left the regulation of health benefits for the elderly and poor to the states, insurers started feeling the pinch of adverse selection, and it was such a mess Lyndon Johnson finally managed to twist enough arms to get these laws passed. These Congressional wingnuts might want to be careful what they wish for.

But wait! There's more! (There's always more...)

Under the new amendment which they like well enough to thrust upon the American people, there's a tiny exception.

As much as the House Freedom Caucus wants to foist this on the American people, they're not quite as comfortable doing it to themselves or their staffs. So they've exempted themselves!

Republican legislators liked this policy well enough to offer it in a new amendment. They do not, however, seem to like it enough to have it apply to themselves and their staff. A spokesperson for Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) who authored this amendment confirmed this was the case: members of Congress and their staff would get the guarantee of keeping this Obamacare regulation.

If it's not good enough for Congress or their staff, it's not good enough for us. Get your dialing fingers ready, because we're going to start calling. And calling. And calling.

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