Thursday, February 9, 2017

What The GOP's Obamacare Debate Is Really About

Masquerading as a policy debate about health care is the fight about money.  Lower taxes resonates with everyone.  But `I don't want to pay for them' is behind each  rationale for cutting Medicaid (code: Block Grant), reforming Medicare (code: corruption, bankruptcy), and Obamacare individual policies (code: unaffordable, choice).  David Kurtz discusses the politics of it. - gwc
What The GOP's Obamacare Debate Is Really About //TPM
by David Kurtz

The key thing to understanding the debate over health care policy in the United States is that it's not really about health care policy, it's about money.

This may sound weird on first read, but there's actually not a lot of disagreement about the basic contours of health care policy. It seems like there is. But most of the policy debates are proxies for the underlying disagreements over whether and how much government should spend on health care.

The political challenge for Republicans has always been how to mask their ideological preference not to spend much (or any) on health care. To do that, they've mounted a sustained decades-long attack on any reform efforts as too costly, inefficient, unworkable, and a threat to liberty. At the same time, they've had to come up with a proposals of their own to make it sound like they actually have a workable health care policy: tax credits, health savings accounts, high risk pools, etc.

Those conservative policy proposals are not in and of themselves entirely bad ideas. In theory, they are trying to achieve the same ends as progressive health care policies. Again, to bang the drum: There's not that much disagreement over what health care policy needs to accomplish. But conservatives tend to want to underfund their own policies, too, and that means in general that they can't possibly accomplish what their progressive policy counterparts would in terms of coverage or care.

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