GOP vs. Health insurance lobby? Good luck.

Health-and-Human-ServicesSo now that 2 million Americans are about to be getting private health insurance under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act private plan exchange of next week — with another couple million already getting covered through their parents’ plans — anti-ACA Republicans in Congress are hitting up against the very hard, cold reality that the “repeal” of the law (which wouldn’t be possible for at least another three years) would suddenly take away a lot of people’s insurance coverage. And that would make people super mad at Republicans.

While some Republicans still won’t go quietly into the night, whether due to dogmatic delusion or excessive pandering, the result of this realization is largely another round of trying to say that there’s still a way to repeal-and-replace the legislation, leaving the “good” parts (and the now-immovable exchange) while abandoning the “bad” parts.

These “good” parts are the extremely popular sections of the “Patient Protection” side of the law, which do things like compel insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions and not drop chronically ill patients or cap their coverage, etc. etc. The “bad” parts seem to have been reduced down to the individual purchase mandate (and I guess probably some lesser things like the popular but more controversial contraception coverage requirements).

The one good thing about the crushing strength of the American private health insurance industry’s Washington lobby is that they will never allow through these idiotic Republican proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act. That lobby understands two key truths:
1. this law benefits their industry as currently written by providing lots of healthy new customers and,
2. the replacement proposals keep the most popular but most expensive parts in place, while stripping out the money-making purchase mandate that makes it financially feasible to keep the costly parts going.

The law is — and always has been — a big giveaway to the private health insurance companies. The Republican proposals to “fix” it would take that part away and make it financially unsustainable for the insurance firms (edit: as has already been demonstrated in U.S. overseas territories that lack the mandate).

Those firms benefiting from this law donate a lot of political money. If you’re a Republican in Congress right now, you don’t want to get into a political gunfight with the health insurance lobby, unless you’re a self-funding candidate.

Even the tea party wing is still dependent upon big business. They can’t afford to cross private health insurers at the moment. Plus, what kind of terrible, socialistic legislation would that be, to force private companies to provide many expensive services without subsidies, while taking away their revenue? No good tea partier in Congress worth his or her salt could vote for that.

Bill Humphrey

About Bill Humphrey

Bill Humphrey is the primary host of WVUD's Arsenal For Democracy talk radio show and a local elected official.
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