Government Bytes

Blog 

GOP Pledges to Keep Tinkering

by tom horne / /

Although I'm hardly the first to say it, the GOP's brand spanking new "Pledge to America" sounds pretty darn familiar.  I'm not talking about the obvious reference to 1994's Contract with America, but 2010's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

As the WonkRoom gleefully points out, the Pledge seems to be completely restating at least 7 practices that are ALREADY LAW.  To quote directly from the Pledge, "Health care should be accessible for all, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses. We will expand state high-risk pools, reinsurance programs and reduce the cost of coverage."  Sounded nice when President Obama said that too.

The problem here has been discussed ad nauseum.  The GOP summed it up nicely themselves back in April (apparently before their pollsters told them to shut-up), "The basic tenets of economics, combined with inherent self-interest, guarantee that people will wait until they are sick before they buy insurance now that Congress has guaranteed they can get it at any time."  Why on earth would any healthy person who currently pays for insurance continue to do so?  Even with a fine, it will still be cheaper to stop paying until you get sick!  It doesn't matter how many times you say it, this will NOT in any way shape or form bring down the cost of coverage.

What will?  Stop tinkering, Stop regulating, Stop mandating.  Allow insurance companies to compete.  Allow insurance companies to sell cheap plans that only cover catastrophes.  We've heard GOP representatives talk about how regulatory uncertainty has been cripping our markets.  Let's go ahead and take that advice.