Big Picture Perspectives: The Challenges Of Crafting Health Bills; Fine Lines And Hard Realities
Editorial pages across the country offer different views on the big-picture issues in play as congressional Republicans attempt to advance legislation to revamp the Affordable Care Act.
The Washington Post:
Why Is It So Hard For Republicans To Pass A Health-Care Bill?
Almost every Republican in Congress can agree with what House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said earlier this week: It's really, really important they pass a health-care bill as soon as possible.“I think it's probably the most, it's the biggest signature issue we have,” Ryan told “Fox & Friends.” “And it's the biggest promise we've ever made in the modern era. We said if we get elected, we will repeal and replace Obamacare.” (Amber Phillips, 6/29)
The New England Journal Of Medicine:
Health, Wealth, And The U.S. Senate
The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), as the U.S. Senate calls the health care bill released by a small working group of Republican senators last week, is not designed to lead to better care for Americans. Like the House bill that was passed in early May, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), it would actually do the opposite: reduce the number of people with health insurance by about 22 million, raise insurance costs for millions more, and give states the option to allow insurers to omit coverage for many critical health care services so that patients with costly illnesses, preexisting or otherwise, would be substantially underinsured and saddled with choking out-of-pocket payments — all with predictably devastating effects on the health and lives of Americans. What would get “better” under the BCRA is the tax bill faced by wealthy individuals, which would be reduced by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade — about $5,000 per year for families making over $200,000 per year and $50,000 or more for those making over $1 million, according to analysis of the AHCA, which included a similar set of tax provisions.1 We believe that that trade-off is not one to which we — physicians, patients, or American society — should be reconciled. (Debra Malina, Stephen Morrissey, Mary Beth Hamel, Caren G. Solomon, Arnold M. Epstein, Edward W. Campion and Jeffrey M. Drazen, 6/27)
The New York Times:
Understanding Republican Cruelty
The basics of Republican health legislation, which haven’t changed much in different iterations of Trumpcare, are easy to describe: Take health insurance away from tens of millions, make it much worse and far more expensive for millions more, and use the money thus saved to cut taxes on the wealthy. (Paul Krugman, 6/30)
The Wall Street Journal:
On Health Care, A Promise, Not A Threat
We are coming up on a great American holiday. There will be fireworks and children frolicking in pools; there will be baseball games, cookouts and flags. America will be looking and acting like America. So this is no time for gloom. This moment in fact may be, perversely, promising. The failure so far of Senate Republicans to agree on a health-care bill provides an opening. Whatever happens the next few days, moderates and centrists on both sides can and should rise, name themselves, and start storming through. (Peggy Noonan, 6/29)
The New York Times:
There’s Only One Grocery Store In Most Rural Areas. Should We Expect Two Health Insurers?
Republicans say a big reason the Affordable Care Act needs to go is that it fosters weak competition and limited choice in insurance marketplaces. But their replacement bill could actually make the problem worse in the rural counties that are struggling the most. (Reed Abelson and Margot Sanger-Katz, 6/29)
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
The Fine Line Between The Health-Insured - And The Uninsured In America
In the reckless rush to repeal the Affordable Care Act, leaving 22 million more Americans uninsured, Washington must remember that we are all just one bad boss or health crisis away from needing help to obtain health insurance. (Betsy Rader, 6/30)