Plattsburgh, New York

Bill Owens: Freedom From Healthcare

The House Freedom caucus demanded reduced premiums and reduced coverage. The result of these demands if accepted by the Republican caucus would be to deliver to Americans freedom from healthcare.

The Freedom Caucus has successfully tied up the repeal and what may be described as the replacement of Obamacare. The Koch empire has pledged to support them in the next election even as Mr. Trump threatens to campaign against them. I see some irony here. 249/314 The Freedom caucus has loudly trumpeted repeal since 2010 as well as consistently clamoring for debt and deficit reductions, yet now with repeal so near, they demanded more.

So where does their leverage come from? It is embodied in the numbers, but it is not the numbers alone. 302 Their members take away the majority which may seem obvious and simplistic at first (glance). What gives them power and makes them impressive is their ability to withstand the pressure of their larger caucus and even the White House while continuing to be united in opposition. They offer 10 proposals which are actually 10 deletions that need to be included in any legislation they support which essentially guts the main tenets of Obamacare.

The Freedom Caucus cares little about the CBO score since if their deletions were included and the vote went forward on Thursday, a new score would not be available. It is likely that their demands would lower premiums and possibly lower the federal government’s expenditures for health care. A double bonus for their long sought goals.

Mr. Ryan is promising to come back with a revised proposal, if the Freedom Caucus’s positions are included Americans will have freedom from healthcare as those over 55, see lower premiums with less coverage. Lower premiums translate not to higher deductibles and co-pays, but to no coverage for many aspects of health care. 204 This will make Americans pay out of pocket, which for many is simply not possible. The result for these folks will be less healthcare, sicker patients for society and hospital closures.

222 All of that said, it’s time to repair the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which will mean both sides will have to accept provisions they don’t like. It also requires accepting information (data) and advice from experts; not relying on slogans filled with misinformation.

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