The GOP’s New Pre-Existing Conditions Promise Is A Fraud

But it’s what the bill doesn’t say that makes the above mostly meaningless.

Yes, insurance companies wouldn’t be allowed to refuse to offer coverage to someone who, for example, has a history of cancer or is pregnant. But they could sell someone a policy that doesn’t cover cancer treatments or the birth of a child.

Sure, premiums wouldn’t be allowed to vary based on health status or pre-existing conditions. But prices could dramatically vary based on age, gender, occupation and other factors, including hobbies, in ways that are functionally the same as basing them on medical histories. Insurance companies have a lot of experience figuring out that stuff.

 There’s no need to speculate about how insurance companies would respond to this, because this is how the system worked for people who bought individual policies before the Affordable Care Act. Insurers don’t make money paying claims; they make money by avoiding claims or refusing the pay them. If they’re allowed to keep the most expensive people and treatments off their books, they will.

Before the Affordable Care Act, it already was illegal for health insurance companies to reject customers with pre-existing conditions or charge them more based on their medical histories if they got coverage through a group plan, like from an employer. And insurers and employers are limited in how much they could refuse to pay for treatments related to a pre-existing condition for group policyholders. The Affordable Care Act extended similar protections to people who buy their health insurance directly or via the exchanges the law created.

.. With Obamacare repeal off the legislative agenda ― for now, at least ― why would these senators write legislation to solve a problem that doesn’t exist? Because their party is the middle of unsolving it.

.. The administration, however, doesn’t want to throw out the whole law ― just the parts that protect people with pre-existing conditions.

For Wages, a Trump Slump

If the Trump economy were so wonderful, why would the speaker of the House feel the need to traffic in disingenuousness? Because the Trump economy isn’t actually so wonderful. For most Americans, it is downright mediocre, and it has deteriorated somewhat since President Trump took office, despite the healthy G.D.P. and unemployment statistics.

.. Let’s start with the good news. The unemployment rate keeps falling, and economic growth is solid. These headline numbers are the ones that Republicans emphasize

.. As a result of the growth, nominal wages — that is, the numbers people see in their paychecks, before taking inflation into account — are growing. You can see the pickup in the gentle upward slope of the chart’s solid gray line. Over the past year, the average hourly nominal wage has risen 2.7 percent.

.. Prices matter, too. When the prices of good and services are rising faster than nominal wages, people end up with less buying power. And that is exactly what’s happening now.

.. Events in the Middle East, Russia and Venezuela have reduced the supply of oil, even as a growing global economy is increasing demand. Trump has aggravated the situation by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, further raising oil prices.

.. My best guess is that real wages will do modestly better over the next year, barring another oil spike or an unexpected recession. But there is no reason to think that most Americans are on the cusp of truly healthy pay increases

.. They face too many obstacles:

Right now, Trump is presiding over precisely the wage growth that he deserves: zero.

EXCLUSIVE: Sally Pipes On Why A Single-Payer Healthcare System Is Bad For America

An average Canadian family of four pays, through hidden taxes and fees, around thirteen thousand dollars for long waiting lists, rationed care, and light access to the latest treatment.

.. Also, there’s a shortage of doctors and hospital beds in Canada because doctors’ salaries are tied to what each provincial government is willing to pay for a procedure. Of course, a lot of doctors quit medicine and retired early.

.. This would mean that the United States would have the same problems as Canada. Rationed care, long waits, much higher taxes. That includes income taxes, corporate taxes, payroll taxes, and even if you doubled all of those taxes, it would not cover the cost of this of this single-payer system.

.. High premiums, high deductibles, narrow networks of doctors and hospitals, and only 12 million people covered in a country of over 330 million, so it has not worked.

.. I would like to see it fully repealed and then replaced with a plan that empowers patients and doctors, not the federal government.

.. The plan I would like to see would change the tax code to allow those with private insurance to get the [same] tax benefits as those with employer-based coverage. People who are insured through their employer get their coverage tax free, but if you go into the individual market you have to pay for it with tax dollars.  I would like to see

  • states reduce their mandates on healthcare. I would like to see
  • medical malpractice reform.
  • Doctors do practice defensive medicine because they are afraid of being sued. I’d like to see people be able to
  • buy insurance from across state lines. I’d like to see
  • Medicare made better by increasing the age limit from 65 because the average American lives to 79.
  • I would like to see changes to Medicaid.

.. there are only about six million people in the market who have chronic or pre-existing conditions. The solution to help those people is to allow the states to set-up high-risk pools with funds from the federal government so that those people could get coverage and not make younger, healthier people pay for those costs. High-risk pools are a great way to deal with people who have these pre-existing conditions.

.. Long wait periods, people dying in the hospitals, and it even talks about the Veterans Administration which is a true single-payer system. It discusses how harmful it has been to the vets, and how they need privatization so our vets can have the best care.

Trump’s worst political nightmare? Democrats with subpoena power

While some Democrats have pressed for Trump’s impeachment, what would be certain is that Democratic committee chairs would swamp Trump and his deputies with subpoenas, document requests and public hearings that would bog down his administration and distract from his agenda ahead of the 2020 elections.

Already, congressional Democrats have amassed dozens of oversight requests targeting the White House, various Cabinet departments and private entities with business ties to Trump and his family.

.. Some outside Trump advisers have mused in recent days that losing the House would be a political disaster but saw a silver lining in the possibility that Democrats would veer left next year and be a foil for Trump

.. “There is a never-ending stream of outrage,” said Scott Jennings, a Republican political consultant who served in the final three years of the Bush White House. “The only difference is, now all of their outrage is directed at Twitter. But when you give somebody a gavel, they can actually hurt you.”

.. Their mission would be to stop the EPA or any other regulatory agency from just functioning, basically, until they can regain power.”

.. it was difficult not to contemplate the possibilities that would come with not only subpoena power, but also a much larger staff and investigative budget.

.. Since Trump took office, Oversight Committee Republicans have blocked more than 50 Democratic subpoena requests ranging from

  • documents pertaining to the administration’s health-care policies to
  • information on the government’s use of chartered airplanes to
  • a demand for testimony from former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

.. would also scrutinize policy issues such as

  • prescription drug prices,
  • postal reform and
  • preparations for the 2020 Census.

.. Unlike the partisan congressional probes into Bush and Obama, which focused mainly on alleged missteps by subordinates, Democrats are primed to put the president himself in the investigative crosshairs 

.. For one, Democrats would be able to inspect Trump’s federal income tax returns for the first time — a trove that they have long demanded but Republicans have shown no interest in obtaining. Under federal law, any tax return can be examined by the chairman of any of the three congressional tax committees.

.. Other information regarding Trump’s personal finances and business dealings could also be subject to Democrats’ prying eyes. They could include rosters of hotel clients and members of Trump golf and social clubs, as well as details of real estate deals that his companies have participated in.

.. requests for information on the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year, as well as Trump’s controversial border policies.

Four Democratic senators on Thursday requested a Pentagon investigation into whether the White House improperly offered tours of Air Force One to members of Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida.