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Now that the Republicans have a Republican President and a Republican Congress, one might think they are all set to accomplish their signature promise: “Repeal and replace Obamacare.”
Sadly, after all these years, they still don’t have a clue, though six little words could solve the problem for them.
First, a little background, from the Vanity Fair HIVE:
REPUBLICANS ADMIT REPLACING OBAMACARE COULD TAKE YEARS
As it turns out, “repeal and replace” is easier said than done—especially when the G.O.P. has no plan of its own.
BY ABIGAIL TRACY, DECEMBER 1, 2016 10:52 AM
Donald Trump and the Republican Party rode their promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act all the way to the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress.
After six years of deriding President__Barack Obama’s__ signature health-care law, the G.O.P. must now take responsibility for remaking a complicated, multi-trillion dollar industry with millions of lives at stake. Or as Obama forewarned one week after the election, “Now comes the hard part. Now is governance.”
Yes, it is oh, so simple, to stand on the sidelines and throw touchdown passes or hit home runs, but when you’re put in the game, the reality sets in that you never have done this before, and are completely clueless about what to do.
But debate is already brewing within the G.O.P. about what comes next. Republican leaders are reportedly working on a plan to vote on symbolically repealing the law early next year, but delaying the actual repeal process for years to give Congress time to rally around a replacement.
Republicans have great experience voting symbolically to replace the Affordable Care Act, having done it more than 50 times. Symbolism is easy. Reality takes work.
The repeal process will be easy. Through a maneuver known as “budget reconciliation”—for which Paul Ryan already conducted a dry run last year—House Republicans can repeal the federal subsidies used to help people lacking employer-provided insurance pay for coverage, the taxes used to fund the Affordable Care Act, and the Medicaid expansion with a single party vote, effectively ransacking the health-care law.
Why do I have the feeling that all those Americans who rushed to vote for Trump, suddenly will wake up and say, “Hey, wait, I don’t want to destroy ACA. I just want to . . . uh . . . do . . . uh . . . something.”
The “replace” process, however, will be much more difficult. This is why the party is arguing for a years-long delay and laying the groundwork for what could be characterized as an “Obamacare cliff,” by imposing a replacement deadline to force cooperation across the aisle.
No, it won’t be an “Obamacare cliff.” It will be a “Trumpcare cliff.” He’s the President. The buck stops there.
Despite the party’s open disdain for the Affordable Care Act, the G.O.P. has never managed to coalesce around a solid alternative over the past six years, and the policy-averse Trump certainly didn’t pitch any detailed proposals of his own on the campaign trail.
The closest outline Republicans have is the proposal Ryan unveiled over the summer, titled “A Better Way,” which notably would replace the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act with flat tax credits and push the Medicaid burden to the states.
Ah, the ever-dependable Ryan, wanting to cost consumers and states money they don’t have, while instituting austerity for the American people and the states.
Ask the euro nations how horribly austerity works, how it destroys lives.
But even Republicans have concerns about Ryan’s plan. “I’m from a state that has an expanded Medicaid population that I am very concerned about,”Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican senator from West Virginia, told Talking Points Memo.
“I don’t want to throw them off into the cold, and I don’t think that’s a strategy that I want to see. It’s too many people. That’s over 200,000 people in my state. So we need a transition.”
Hmmm . . . let’s see now. He doesn’t want to take healthcare coverage from the people in his state. O.K., Senator Capito, who will pay for it if ACA is defunded?
Clearly, after all these years of moaning and groaning, the Republicans still have no answer.
Even with the two to three year delay, Republicans face a tough timeline. Between 22 million and 23 million Americans are expected to lose coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, and while it is too early to estimate how many of those will be eligible for coverage under the Republicans’ alternative (since it doesn’t exist), the G.O.P. risks upending the health-insurance market during an election year.
It’s like the deadbeat who proposes to a woman, with promises he’ll buy her diamonds, a mansion, a Rolls Royce and a trip around the world. So she marries him, only to discover he has no money and no plan.
Hello, Trump voters.
“I think, inevitably, the uncertainty that is created by the election of Donald Trump and a Republican House and Senate is going to cause a lot of turmoil in health-insurance markets, and that, in itself, is going to be harmful,” Timothy Jost, an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University, (said).
“I think it is going to be a while before it plays out and I think that there will be a lot of people who are hurt by this, but how many and how badly is really hard to tell at this point.”
The fundamental problem is rather simple. Healthcare costs money. So the only question is: Who will pay to provide healthcare to those who can’t afford it?
The politicians can twist and turn and squeal and shout, but unless America believes the 99% should not have healthcare, there are only two answers to the question: Either the federal government pays or the people pay — and the people don’t want to, or can’t afford to, pay.
But the federal government can.
Now for those six little words that would completely solve the problem:
There they are, those six little words. The first political party that utters them, teaches them to the populace, and acts upon them will be heroes to all but the very rich among us.
Rather than trying to eliminate Obamcare, they first will eliminate the grossly regressive FICA tax that punishes the low wage earner.
They will provide a fully-funded Medicare, parts A, B and D, for every man, woman and child in America.
They will provide Social Security to everyone.
They will institute the balance of the Ten Steps to Prosperity (below)
And yes, they will control inflation by using interest rates to increase the demand for, and the value of, the dollar.
Meanwhile, the denial of the truths of Monetary Sovereignty, and the insistence on austerity, will continue to plague America, as it has plagued all other nations.
The struggle over healthcare in America will go on and on and on, because it will be based on the false assumptions that federal spending is “unsustainable” (the favorite word of the debt hawks) or is “socialistic” or “communistic,” or will “cause inflation” or makes the government “too big” — not one of which is true.
The Republicans are hopeless, because fundamentally they are the party of the rich, and the rich benefit from austerity.
The Democrats were the party of the working class (up through Lyndon Johnson), but became much less so with right-wingers like Clinton and Obama.
And no one in either party has shown the courage to tell the truth that really would set us free. We are waiting, waiting, waiting for a hero to say:
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the rich and the rest.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich can afford better health care than can the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE AN ANNUAL ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONEFive reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).
Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.