There was a Republican Congressional representative on my television screen holding a paper sack while explaining the outline of the GOP proposal for ACA replacement. Our first clue should be when a GOP spokesperson says, “We don’t have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed.” Translation: They don’t have a comprehensive and complete plan in place, and this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
- The happy congressman puts bits of paper into what he is now calling a “personal health care kit.” It’s still a paper bag.
The first piece of paper into the sack is supposed to represent your private health insurance policy. Before the paper disappears inside the sack there are some questions to raise:
Will those policies be required to cover those medical services currently included under the ACA? For example, will those policies be required to cover maternity expenses? Mental health treatment on par with physical treatment? Will the policies cover preventative treatment and screenings? All vaccines? Will policies cost the same for women as for men?
The second bit of paper disappears into the bag. Our happy representative announces that another feature of our Personal Health Care Kit will be our health savings accounts. More questions please before this is out of sight in the sack.
- Does this mean that everyone should buy one of those high deductible health plans associated with health savings accounts? What happens to those who can’t afford one of those HDHPs and aren’t in a financial position to carve out more from the family budget for an HSA?
There’s another piece of paper headed into the bag. We’ll be seeing reforms to health care provision through Medicaid…
- What reforms? Something like a block grant program which doesn’t insure either that there’s enough money in a state program to cover costs in the first place, or that the funding will be easier to cut later?
The little bag has handles on it, the point being that your health care kit is completely portable and goes with you wherever you go. Pointedly missing is what is actually inside.
- If insurance policies are completely portable then are all state insurance officials required to accept the least comprehensive, least consumer oriented plans, from a state with little or no regulations for reducing fraud and protecting consumers?
The little sacks are a cute marketing pitch, but very little else. The bags contain nothing but the same old worn tread ideas the GOP has been peddling since time out of mind. Perhaps a better notion is that the brown paper sacks hide those same tired anti-consumer concepts on which the GOP relies and continues to try unsuccessfully foist on the American public. The bags are also hiding the essential facts that shout ‘repeal’ though they may, they still don’t have a replacement.