A slapdash, shoddy plan

A few years ago, we used the following quote in an editorial to express how we feel about politics:

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” — Groucho Marx

Since the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was passed in 2010, Republicans have been vowing to repeal and — sometimes — replace it. You would think that in the ensuing seven years they actually may have come up with a plan that could do just that.

Groucho’s quote above seems to aptly describe the plan announced last week by the GOP. To summarize the scoring of the American Health Care Act by the Congressional Budget Office:

• By the end of the first year of the plan, 14 million Americans who now have health insurance would not.

• After a decade, that number rises to 24 million of Americans who now have insurance but then would not.

• Premiums would initially go up because the plan gets rid of the individual mandate. Healthy people will stop buying insurance — the remaining sicker ones would have to pay more for coverage.

• While premiums would eventually level off — even go down — for most folks who are insured, the CBO estimates that premiums will go up as much as 25 percent for older Americans.

• Part of the reason premiums would go down on the whole is because insurance companies would be allowed to sell bare-bones, high-deductible, high co-pay policies.

We admit that we have been critical of the Affordable Care Act in the past, mainly because it did virtually nothing to curb soaring health care costs. But, the plan submitted last week seems to have all the elements of Groucho’s observation — particularly diagnosing the problem incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

Driving people away from health insurance in the name of promoting “choice” is foolish. Capping federal reimbursements to states for Medicaid is going to leave millions of poor and disabled in desperate straits.

President Donald Trump made a remark a couple of weeks ago about “Who knew health care would be so complicated?” Well, it is complicated and the plan presented last week should be withdrawn and time should be taken to get its replacement right.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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