So said the Lord, “Have you murdered and also inherited?” ~ I Kings 21:19
Welcome to another edition of the arsonist dressing up as the firefighter.
Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) have introduced legislation to exempt parts of Tennessee from Obamacare. Currently, 16 counties in eastern Tennessee have no insurers thanks to the insolvent Obamacare regulations. The bill from the state’s two liberal senators would allow individuals to use massive government subsidies to purchase any state plan, even outside of the exchanges. Tennessee residents would also be exempted from the penalty for not purchasing insurance.
All things equal, there is nothing wrong with senators trying to alleviate an urgent health care crisis in their state. But much like the arsonist dressing up as the firefighter, they refuse to treat the disease instead of the symptom — the very disease they have supported. Alexander and Corker are huge supporters of the very elements of Obamacare — the guaranteed issue and community rating regulations — that have driven up prices and driven insurers out of their state. As the chairman of the committee overseeing health care issues, Alexander has consistently sabotaged Republican messaging on the issue, and has accepted the entire premise of government-run healthcare.
Yet, rather than recognize the truth about Obamacare regulations from the undeniably vivid paradigm of failure in his own backyard, Alexander wants to treat the symptom for his own constituents and continue supporting guaranteed issue and community rating. Both senators have forcefully ruled out curing the disease, but want to help treat the symptoms for their own political gain.
Rather than treating the insurance crisis as a natural disaster, a true governing party would have its president use the bully pulpit and travel the country using vivid examples showing how Obamacare regulations destroyed the marketplace. President Trump should travel to eastern Tennessee and make the case for full repeal, equal tax treatment, a national insurance market, expanded HSAs, and medical malpractice reform … you know … all the stuff in the GOP platform. Instead, they are giving Democrats cover by trying to “fix” this man-made problem.
In Alaska, insurance has deteriorated to the point where prices literally look like the Venezuelan market. As Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis points out with the use of the Kaiser calculator, a silver plan for a 64-year-old couple living in Anchorage, Alaska now costs $50,900 a year! If that couple earns $80,000 or less, they receive tens of thousands of dollars in subsidies, while a couple earning above that threshold must foot the bill! This is an insane economic-killing disincentive cliff and an unsustainable entitlement — all made possible by the actuarially insolvent regulations Republicans refuse to recognize. And this is only the fourth year of implementation. Every state will look like Alaska within a few years.
Only a party that doesn’t share free market values can fail to articulate this case to the American people.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.