Calling Republicans' bluff on Obamacare

You might have been a little distracted by that unbelievable TWIST ending at the Oscars last night, but on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver dedicated a segment to the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.

Republican leaders in the United States are planning to replace Obamacare, but John Oliver is anxious. On the other hand, Kentucky's Republican Governor Matt Bevin commented that "simply enrolling people serves absolutely no value if all we've given them is a plastic card that says you're now covered".

Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the 46 governors who attended the winter meeting want every citizen to have quality health care.

The result could be lower-cost health plans that ideally cover some preventive care, said Stephen Parente, a health economist at the University of Minnesota.

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That's a pretty big promise to try and live up to, and as Oliver has pointed out, the clock is now ticking for republicans to get something done. Yet mandatory coverage of people with pre-existing conditions is one of the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The Republicans would also gradually replace Medicaid with a program of block grants or per capita payments to the states that would save the federal government billions in the coming years but reduce coverage for lower-income people. The move would require use of the "reconciliation" process in the Senate, which lets measures that are generally budget-related pass with a simple majority instead of 60 votes. Not only do they have a daunting to-do list, President Donald Trump's joint congressional address Tuesday is sure to color their efforts, if not disrupt their work entirely.

The Republican replacement plan would allow more variation in what expenses health plans cover, as well as the size of their deductibles, a change that would give people more choices and lead insurers to offer health plans that cost less than those available today.

"Not at all - we actually think you should do what you said you'd do", Rep. Jim Jordan, a former leader of the Freedom Caucus, told reporters, calling the conservative option "the one plan that's consistent with what the voters expect us to do and what they sent us here to do".

He insisted that is no longer acceptable and the time is now for the recently empowered Trump and company to present a plan of their own, adding the talking points about tax credits and the like previously uttered by high-ranking party leaders Paul Ryan and Tom Price offer some clue as to what that might be. He said it is simply another "entitlement with a Republican stamp on it". And, you know, that's not acceptable when you have 20 million people, or 700,000 people in my state. The House speaker trekked across the Capitol to reassure senators that lawmakers are making more progress toward repealing the health care law than the media are reporting.


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