First, the good news.
Dr. Paul Ryan just operated to remove the Obamacare cancer that has made America sick for nearly seven years.
The bad news. Dr. Ryan removed half the tumor and then stitched the patient shut.
The Obamacare measure unveiled Monday needs radical surgery if it ever will repeal and replace this disastrous program.
Voters sent President Donald J. Trump and a Republican Congress to Washington, D.C. to repeal Obamacare — every malignant cell of it. And that’s where the GOP needs to start.
Repealing Obamacare is easy. Republicans already did it.
Every GOP senator except Illinois’ Mark Kirk voted for H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015.
This full-repeal bill passed the Senate 52 to 47 that December. The House approved the measure the next month, 240 to 181, with 239 Republican Yeas and only three GOP Nays.
Barack Obama rejected this measure, alas, and then Congress failed to override his veto." As Republicans, we decried the fact that Obama would veto it,” U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., told journalists Tuesday, "Why would we now water down this same bill and send a new and weaker bill to President Trump?"
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is equally mystified. "We put on President Obama’s desk a bill that repealed Obamacare, got rid of every single tax, got rid of the mandates, and now the first thing Republicans are bringing forward is a piece of legislation that we’re going to put on a Republican president’s desk that says we repeal it but keeps Medicaid expansion and actually expands it, that keeps some of the tax increases.
"That is not what we promised the American people we were going to do."
This bill would broaden Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and scrap most benefit mandates, such as the baffling requirement that childless policy holders purchase pediatric vision and dental insurance to treat offspring who do not exist.
According to Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, "The Obamacare repeal bill abolishes 14 taxes that today siphon off nearly one trillion dollars from American Taxpayers each decade."
That’s good news, although these taxes remain until next Jan. 1.
Too bad the so-called "Cadillac tax" on gold-plated health plans is delayed until 2025 rather than junked today. Ryan’s plan also eliminates the individual mandate, although critics say it converts Obamacare's fines from penalties levied by government into penalties collected by insurers. "The GOP plan tosses insurance companies a gift, offering them a subsidy for covering sick and expensive patients," Cato Institute scholar Michael Tanner complains. "This provision looks a lot like Obamacare’s insurer bailout, which Republicans, led by Marco Rubio, took such pride in killing."
Health policy analysts also lament that the pre-existing-illness-coverage mandate remains, rather than more market-oriented high-risk pools. This would leave GOP fingerprints all over Obama’s unwieldy regulation.
RyanCare foregoes tax credits offered directly to individuals and families, which would cut their taxes. Instead, expenditures — disguised as "tax credits" — would go directly to insurance companies. These age-adjusted payments would hit $9,000 for a typical family of four with parents in their early 30s. That’s more than double the analogous $4,200 credit proposed by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, M.D., when he was a Georgia congressman.
Missing: Price’s one-time, $1,000 tax credit for opening each HSA, a powerful incentive to proliferate such pro-market financial vehicles.
Given these multiple shortcomings, Republicans should thank Ryan for his opening bid and, instead, re-adopt H.R. 3762, which boasted virtually unanimous Republican support just 14 months ago.
There is no reason to send President Trump a bill that is left of what Republicans handed Obama. "Clean repeal," as Sen. Rand Paul, R – Ky., calls it, unites Republicans. So, dispatch H.R. 3762 2.0 to the White House and let President Trump add Obamacare repeal to his list of promises kept.
Republicans then must perform the tougher task: replacing Obamacare, with Ryancare serving as nothing more than a much-appreciated rough draft.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online. He is also a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. Read more reports from Deroy Murdock — Click Here Now.
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