Cornyn: "We didn't think ahead" on keeping under-26 insurance policy

Texas Senator John Cornyn is pretty much admitting the GOP put its foot in its mouth with their supposed “fix” to Obamacare. Via Politico (emphasis mine):

The under-26 provision has contributed to one of Obamacare’s biggest flaws: Not enough young, healthy people have signed up for coverage in the law’s insurance marketplaces, or exchanges.

That’s translated into financial losses for insurers, big premium spikes and dwindling competition. Those are the problems that Republicans repeatedly cite when they argue that Obamacare is collapsing, and that therefore they have no choice but to take drastic action to salvage the health care system.

Still, the GOP appears poised to keep the under-26 allowance — a decision that undermines its goal of lowering premiums — for fear of the political consequences. The House’s repeal bill carries over the Obama-era provision, one of the few features that’s escaped controversy.

“It’s just that that was overwhelmingly popular and the insurance companies didn’t object,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who acknowledged stripping out the provision could help stabilize the market. “I don’t think we thought that far ahead, to tell you the truth.”

There aren’t reliable current figures for how many young adults are on their parents’ plans, but estimates have ranged from 2.3 million to 3 million.

Color me shocked to learn the Republican Party decided to not think that far ahead, and attempted to do something which won’t help the market at all. My father once mentioned his annoyance with Cornyn’s defense of Medicare Part D by noting Cornyn admitted it was a bad bill, but at least the GOP did something. The most annoying part is the fact so-called GOP strategists are also defending keeping the under-26 policy because it’s something to help the middle class. Again, via Politico:

“The simple brass tack is you would be killing a program that is the only overture to the middle class,” said Doug McAuliffe, a Republican political strategist, speaking of the under-26 provision. “That’s one of the few points they can take advantage of.”

The biggest issue with Ryancare (or Trumpcare or whatever you want to call it) is it probably won’t really help the market. Dr. Chad Mathis, along with FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon, wrote in The Washington Examiner last week how the so-called “healthcare reform” really isn’t healthcare reform, but closer to insurance reform, which doesn’t help the people at all.

As a doctor, the basic elements of my medical practice didn’t change with the passage of the “Affordable” Care Act. I still meet with patients, look at their records, perform an examination and then design a treatment plan with them. The patient’s ability to obtain the treatment that I prescribe has changed. When they contact their insurance coordinator, they will often find out either that the service isn’t covered or that they haven’t fulfilled their out-of-pocket deductible…

I have seen patients fail to receive the care they need time and time again, as have countless other physicians across the country. Health insurance premiums skyrocketed by 25 percent last year. Eighteen out of 23 Obamacare nonprofit co-ops have failed. The federal government owes insurers $8 billion. This must stop and it must be replaced by a bill that will allow my patients to actually benefit from my diagnoses and prescriptions rather than only being frustrated by them.

Their solution is letting people shop around for health insurance, instead of mandating where they can and can’t buy. It’s a good start, but doesn’t address the root problem of the issue: health insurance in general. There are plenty of people who find it rather annoying I cite what the Founders did or what issues were debated back in colonial times versus now. “Oh…things have changed,” they argue or, “Oh the Founders didn’t realize what was going to happen.” This is an argument the left likes to use when discussing guns, and the right likes to use on immigration.

But there’s a reason why it’s important to look at history: we can see where the mistakes were made and try to plot a course to correct them. Case in point: the reason businesses give employees health insurance is because of 1940s era rulings by either the National Labor Relations Board or the Supreme Court on collective bargaining. This was noted by The Brookings Institute in a 2009 book called Using Taxes to Reform Health Insurance
Pitfalls and Promises (emphasis mine):

No history of health insurance would be complete without some mention of the role of unions. Although the labor movement has a long history of interest in health and safety issues and legislation, its ability to include health insurance benefits was enhanced by a series of policy decisions by the National War Labor Board (1945), the National Labor Relations Board (1949), and the Supreme Court (1949). These rulings enabled unions to bargain for health benefits are part of wage negotiations under collective bargaining arrangements. The number of workers covered by health insurance negotiated by unions increased from 600,000 in 1949 to 12 million workers and 17 million dependents by 1954, approximately one-quarter o health insurance enrollees in the United States. That unions increased the number of workers covered and the extent of benefits does not refute the importance of tax policy in the development of health insurance.

The current legislation, whether it be Obamacare or Trump/Ryancare, only addresses some of the symptoms of why health costs are so high, and not the actual problem: a long history of government involvement in healthcare. What the government (specifically Congress and the presidency) needs to be doing is extricating itself from healthcare by undoing the previous NLRB decisions on health insurance, while also acknowledging it will probably take some time to completely rid the government influence in healthcare. As much as Trump likes to proclaim he doesn’t want to touch entitlement programs, the government will have to end them over a long term of probably 30 years. This gives people enough time to set up their own charity services and gives doctors and hospitals time to prepare for life after government involved healthcare. The fact that cash only doctors are becoming more and more of a thing, it might not even take 30-40 years to get government (and their insurance lobby cronies) away from healthcare.

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