Repeal Without Replace: Out The Plane Without A Parachute

Healthcare and healthcare coverage is an important topic for me for two reasons.

1.) Because my father died without coverage. He went without coverage because he had a pre-existing condition, and he was in the gap between his actual retirement and the proper retirement age, so he went without coverage for a short time until he could pick up Medicare at 65. In that time he got prostate cancer, as he went without any kind of preventative checks. It metastasized. It killed him. And that was that.

2.) Because the ACA has been a boon for me as a writer — which is to say, as a small business, because that’s what I am. I went to get health insurance initially and it was very expensive to cover my family, and it did not cover a great deal… and that was before we even got into any tussle over pre-existing conditions. The institution of the ACA was fortuitous, and allowed us to instead go to the marketplace, where we got health insurance that was considerably cheaper and covered considerably more. It allowed me to embark upon the “novelist” phase of my career in a real way. Like my books? They exist, in part, because of the ACA.

So, with those two previously-mentioned caveats mentioned once more —

Hey, how’s the healthcare debate going in this country?

Good? Yeah?

*checks watch*

*stares off at a pile of medical waste on fire*

*someone adds a pile of diapers to the conflagration*

Oh, so that good, huh?

*clears throat*

So, last night, in case you missed it, the healthcare repeal and replace failed in the Senate because it did not accrue enough support — those who bailed on it (Senators Moran and Lee) suggested they wanted an open legislative process, and some even suggested a bipartisan look at healthcare going forward (gasp, what, you mean you’d like to, to, to cooperate whoa holy shit what a revolution). And then ol’ Turtle Waddle, ol Mr. Turkey Dildo, ol’ Senator Mitch McConnell, he said, OH HELL NO, and he released a statement that said they will now pursue a repeal of the ACA without a current replacement.

In case you are unsure what that looks like, imagine that it looks like a person holding a sewing machine swaddled in fabric, and then that person leaps excitedly out of a plane in the hopes of stitching together a proper parachute before turning into a pancake of blood-and-bone.

Then, this morning, our melting shit-scented candle of a president endorsed an even uglier version of this idea, saying, and I quote, “As I have always said, let Obamacare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!”

Stay tuned.

Like this is a reality show and not:

a) a massive industry on which our economy hangs

b) people’s lives.

This is our, ahem, “leader” —

Someone who is content to let a thing fail instead of leading the way. Instead of fixing or repairing. Can you imagine seeing a bridge that’s failing and saying, “I’ll let it fail, then replace it.” Worse, it’s like he’s ready to commit some grand guignol of insurance fraud — “As I have always said, let the house burn down, or maybe I’ll burn it down myself, then I’ll collect the insurance and we can come together and pay for a great big new house. Stay tuned!”

He will let the system fail.

He will let people die.

And then he’ll swoop in and we’ll do “great” healthcare.

What a pal, what a chum.

Anyway, back to the Senate.

The Senate passed a repeal-without-replace in 2015, and that succeeded — in part, I suspect, because it was purely performative. They knew Obama wasn’t going to sign it, because c’mon. Obama wasn’t going to undo part of his legacy. But they showed solidarity. They passed it, he vetoed it. It gets more complicated now because what McConnell is proposing is that they excise the ACA over two years, giving them a window of replacement.

But I want you to pay attention —

They last tried to repeal in 2015.

It is now 2017.

That was two years ago.

They still have no replacement.

That wasn’t the beginning, though —  they’ve been trying to undo the ACA for SEVEN years.

And still, no replacement.

They now control the executive and the legislative branches of government.

And still, no viable replacement.

So, to assume that in two years they will come up with a capable healthcare system in place is not only absurd, it is statistically unlikely. (Never mind the fact that the CBO score on “repeal-without-replace” is the most devastating of all in terms of costs and people thrown off healthcare.) The GOP have nothing. They don’t have the chops. They’ve had seven years, then two, then they gained control of everything, and we’re still with the ACA.

Which, by the way, is a good thing.

Yes, the ACA is imperfect, but guess what? It’s fixable. (It in part was hamstrung by Rubio, who eliminated high-risk corridors.) Listen, as a parent with a kid, I gotta tell you — it’s an epic fucking blessing when you learn a thing is broken-but-fixable. It saves you money to fix the things that you can fix rather than replacing them. (That, one could argue, is a truly conservative mindset. Conserve what you have, fix what can be fixed.) Furthermore, it is galling to know we have leaders who are willing to play chicken with people’s actual lives and an entire industry in order to pursue a dogged crusade against what is, very honestly, a Republican-based plan (yes, the ACA was originally a Republican plan) that happened to be implemented by a black Democrat.

So, as always, I urge you:

Call your senators.