For many of us ... the death of the repeal effort means the death of many small businesses who have been counting on full repeal
Last week the Senate released a discussion draft of a bill that was supposedly designed to repeal and replace Obamacare. Their draft did neither. What it did was amend Obamacare and continue it under a different name.
So, we have gone from:
- Seven years of promises to fully repeal Obamacare, when they knew Obama would veto any repeal effort,
- To Oh Boy, this is complicated! Let’s not repeal until we come up with a replace bill because now Trump will actually sign the repeal legislation, and our K-Street donors really like Obamacare.
- To finally neither repealing nor replacing Obamacare, but instead amending and continuing it.
So now we know that words don’t mean the same in Washington D.C. as they do outside the beltway. 1) Rip it out root and branch, 2) repeal it lock, stock, and barrel, and 3) fully repeal really mean amend and keep. Silly voters! All those elections during all those years, and we really thought you meant what you said, Congress, when you said full repeal. Well, I guess the joke was on us this time. You really got us good. Wait until the next election though because I think the joke may be on you then.
The main difference in the Republican and the Democrat plans is that Democrats want to keep Obamacare and pay for it with high taxes. Establishment Republicans want to rename and keep Obamacare and pay for it with deficit spending. No matter how big government advocates try to finesse this, both parties now fully support keeping a huge, unconstitutional Federal Government entitlement program, that we cannot afford and do not want.
The Senate bill proposes welfare for all for as far as the eye can see. Their bill would prop up Obamacare exchanges by allocating $15 billion per year in 2018 and 2019 to those exchanges, and then $10 billion in 2020 and 2021.
Their bill would also continue corporate welfare for big insurance companies, by continuing Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies through 2019, even though a court has ruled these corporate subsidies to be illegal and unconstitutional.
The Senate bill would preserve Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid to those making up to 138% of the poverty level for the next seven years. Then in 2025 it will continue the Obamacare funding for Medicaid but slow down the growth by matching it to the rate of inflation. All this is assuming that the Republicans keep the White House and both branches of Congress. This sounds like another one of those good jokes Congress likes to play on voters.
But don’t think that all of this future welfare spending is limited to corporations and Medicaid recipients. Oh, no, not at all. The Senate bill also incorporates the Obamacare tax credits for earners with families with incomes of almost $100,000 per year. But in 2020 they cut those subsidies back to only cover people who are making up to $86,000 per year. And they call that repeal. Looking at the Senate bill, you would think we had a $20 trillion surplus with money to blow rather than a $20 trillion debt.
This all comes with a very high price tag for Americans who pay for insurance: the bill keeps costly Title I regulations, like community rating, that have caused health insurance cost to spike since Obamacare was passed. Under this bill, premium costs will remain unaffordable and Congress did not do one thing to return those costs to even pre-Obama era amounts.
This pretend repeal bill will cement the basic architecture of Obamacare in place for good. Obviously Congress and most of the rest of America have very different goals and interests here. For Congress, this is all primarily an exercise in trying to get re-elected. They have to figure how they can deliver to K-Street donors, while simultaneously double-crossing voters without voters knowing they are being flimflammed. It is not an overstatement to say that this is the fraud of the century and will go down in history as perhaps the greatest betrayal of voters by Congress in the history of this nation.
For many of us though, the death of the repeal effort means the death of many small businesses who have been counting on full repeal. The Lion and Rose is one of the casualties of this Congressional betrayal. We had been holding out in hopes that Congress would deliver, but at this point we see that Congress is not going to do anything to really lower premiums and that they will fight to preserve Obamacare under a new Republican name. So this weekend we closed our Lion and Rose Restaurant located in the Forum Shopping Center because Obamacare has consumed all of the profits. More closures may be coming soon.
Allen Tharp is President of the San Antonio Tea Party. He is also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the San Antonio-based Allen Tharp LLC and the Olde England’s Lion & Rose Restaurants.
Image credit: Michael Ramirez cartoon: http://michaelpramirez.com/gop-repeal.html
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