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Five Myths About Healthcare Reform
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By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate

The collapse of the Obamacare repeal legislation in the Senate sent partisan pundits into a frenzy, but for those of us who are less interested in politics and more interested in good policy, here are five myths about health care reform worth debunking.

1.     Fixing the ACA (Obamacare) is Dead: Yes, for the time being it is, but not in the long run. If you listen to speeches delivered from Democrats and Republicans, healthcare is far too important to the public and this sector of the economy to ignore. Senator McCain and others pleaded for the Senate to go through the committee process, which includes hearings and collaboration, to pass comprehensive legislation. In Capitol Hill-speak, that process is called “regular order.” That is likely the next move for Congress.

2.     Republicans Control the Congress and the Executive Branch so Passage Should be Easy:  This oft-repeated statement assumes that all Republicans think alike. In reality, the party runs the gamut of ultra-conservative to moderate to libertarian-ish. So, it’s not surprising that when it comes to healthcare reform, the party is all over the map. Getting Republicans to agree to a bill is a tall order given these different philosophical bents in both the House and Senate.

3.     Democrats Don’t Want to Fix Obamacare: If you thought the Republicans are a disorganized bunch, take a look at the Democrats. They often pride themselves on their chaotic ways. Sure, some Democrats believe Obamacare is perfect, but the vast majority do not. In closing remarks of the Senate debate, Senator Schumer acknowledged the law needed revision, stating “it’s not perfect – let’s work together.”

4.     The Congressional Budget Office is Partisan: Since the agency’s formation in 1975, the CBO’s budget scorekeeping on major public policy proposals has been criticized by politicians when estimates didn’t agree with their positions. The head of the CBO is appointed by the party in power and its mission is nonpartisan.

5.     Reform Will Result in Reduced Premiums: Health insurance is a risk pool. Structuring the pool to include enough healthy people to subsidize the unhealthy people is a balance Obamacare was largely unsuccessful in achieving. The other side of the equation is the expense side of the delivery of healthcare—which is anything but transparent. Premiums will not come down until these two problems are resolved. Nibbling around the edges of health insurance regulations or a simple repeal will not achieve reduced premiums.  

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