Heading into the home stretch of the midterm elections, some House Republicans are accepting a key Democrat position on health care, hoping to attract independent votes.
But they’re not just abandoning conservatives, they’re abandoning common sense.
According to The Hill, 32 House Republicans facing competitive races Nov. 6 have signed on to congressional calls for the government to force insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions in recent weeks.
In June, the Trump administration announced it would not defend Obamacare protections for pre-existing conditions as part of a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas challenging Obamacare’s constitutionality, as CNN reported.
That’s spurred months of Republicans working on Capitol Hill to figure out a way to save at least some aspects of pre-existing conditions coverage.
In August, according to The Washington Times, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis introduced a bill that would make coverage for pre-existing conditions part of the 1990s Health Insurance Portability Act. That could make the provision less vulnerable to being ended if other elements of Obamacare are found unconstitutional.
The administration’s June announcement is also what has some Republicans signing onto to resolutions supporting pre-existing condition coverage, according to The Hill.
It’s one of the most popular parts of the otherwise very unpopular Obamacare agenda, which is why worried GOP incumbents are backing it.
As The Hill put it:
“The moves, coming in the final weeks of the midterm campaign cycle, mark a course reversal for members of a party that for years railed against ObamaCare, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and called for its repeal.”
It might be politically understandable why some Republicans are deciding they like forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions – it’s one of the most popular parts of an otherwise extremely unpopular Obamacare regime.
It’s also one of its most profoundly foolish aspects.
Insurance, by nature, is intended to handle things that haven’t happened yet – a car accident, sudden unemployment, a medical crisis. It is not intended to handle things that have already taken place.
As numerous commentators have pointed out, forcing insurance companies to “cover” pre-existing conditions is like forcing bookies to cover bets on a game that are placed after it’s over.
And it’s not a very smart way to keep insurance companies operating profitably.
That could well have been the Democrats’ plan all along back in those disastrous days of 2010, when the triumvirate of Barack Obama in the White House, Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House, and the loathsome Harry Reid as Senate majority leader were ramming Obamacare down America’s throat.
The best way to force “singler-payer,” “universal,” “government-run” health care, after all, would be to drive private companies out of business.
With Obamacare saddling insurance companies with the guaranteed losing bet of pre-existing condition coverage, they’d be in the same shape as bookies who have to paying off bets on the Philadelphia Eagles to win Super Bowl LII.
There’s no doubt that Americans who are in poor health through no fault of their own deserve the assistance of their countrymen. But for the government to pretend to provide that help by forcing insurance companies into a never-ending series of catastrophically losing bets is not a long-term win for anyone.
It forces insurance companies to raise premiums on everyone to cover the relative few. And it encourages the unscrupulous to game the system by failing to get insurance until they have a condition that requires medical care — then getting insurance from companies forced to cover the “pre-existing” ailment.
There’s no better way to destroy the insurance industry. No better way to smooth the way for a government takeover of one more part of American life.
And no better way for Republicans to make voters think they’re really Democrats.
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