The latest Bloomberg Politics report on the House GOP plan is an eye-opener. Instead of treating health care as a social responsibility, as the Affordable Care Act does, the bill would make it a luxury service for just the right kind of people.
Most notably, while repealing the dreaded individual mandate, the plan would still penalize people for going without insurance. That is, it would punish them when they get insurance, by allowing insurers to charge higher premiums to people who had a gap in coverage. In addition, subsidies for premiums would be based on age, rather than income—practically guaranteeing that poorer people are left out.
Republican lawmakers aren’t even pretending to care. “Not everybody is going to have health care—some people just don’t care enough about their own care,” said Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), adding that “whether they take it or not is like trying to legislate responsibility.”
Of course, “responsibility” is legislated all the time, including in the GOP’s own plan to backload the punishment on people for needing insurance later on. But what if the whole point of this is to make sure people don’t have insurance?
“We’re not going to send an IRS agent out to chase you down and make you buy health insurance,” said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-FL), who would apparently celebrate the prospect of lower insurance coverage in America. “If the numbers drop, I would say that’s a good thing, because we’ve restored personal liberty in this country.”
Yes, the liberty for people to not afford health care, and to be guaranteed even higher price tags when they need it.