Letters to the Editor: Nov. 22, 2017 

GOP strangled Obamacare

“If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately repeal, and then replace at a later date!” said President Donald Trump.

Conservatives quickly pounced on the idea — including Senators Rand Paul and Ben Sasse, as well as the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity.

Former House Speaker John Boehner called repeal then replace laughable:

“In the 25 years that I served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever, one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like. Not once,” Boehner said. “And all this happy talk that went on about repeal, repeal, repeal — yeah, we’ll do replace, replace — I started laughing, because if you pass repeal without replace, first, anything that happens is your fault. You broke it.”

This is the danger facing the GOP; if they simply repeal Obamacare, that would leave 18 million more people without coverage in the first year after its enactment and 32 million more by 2026, according to a Congressional Budget Office report. It would also cause premiums on individual market policies to increase by up to 25 percent the first year and nearly double by 2026, mainly because the individual mandate would be repealed. But some insurers would also likely pull out of the market, the CBO said. The remaining carriers would likely raise rates dramatically because the remaining enrollees would tend to be older and sicker.

When the health care law started requiring insurance companies to sell policies to everyone (even with pre-existing conditions), the companies didn’t know how much to charge in premiums to cover expenses for all those new policies.

So the law set up a three-year period, from 2014 to 2016, during which the government would subsidize the losses for insurers in the new law’s marketplaces while they adjusted premiums. This program is known as risk corridors.

The GOP yanked funding for risk corridors when lawmakers passed a massive spending bill in December 2014, which included a “rider” that said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services could not use any extra money in its budget to pay risk corridor expenses.

As a result, the government only paid 12.6 cents on the dollar owed insurers under the program, causing insurers to flee the individual markets and raise premiums to cover the losses that the government had promised to cover. A class action lawsuit followed.

In February, the US court of Federal Claims ruled: “If these programs did not provide for compensation … insurers might lack the resources to continue offering plans on the exchanges. Further, if enough insurers left the exchanges, one of the goals of the Affordable Care Act, the creation of ‘effective health insurance markets,’ would be unattainable.”

The court sent the feds an $8 billion bill to pay insurers. Whether that $8 billion would have kept premiums down and insurers in the individual market is impossible to say, but the GOP proposed an extra $8 billion to help fund high-risk pools for people with preexisting conditions, so it is the same concept by another name. Just politics as usual: party first; We the People be damned.

D.W. Tiffee


What the Democrats will do

Put the Democrats in power and this is what they’ll do!

1. Raise the debt limit.

2. Pass enough money to take care of Harvey’s victims.

3. Finally begin a workers program to repair the nation’s infrastructure. This will create millions of jobs, and these millions of jobs will put money back into the economy. And because of the booming economy, this will produce more jobs.

4. Erase or drastically cut college intuition. By giving students more freedom, they will inject their money into the system that will increase the generators that increase the economy.

5. This is not socialism! This is using the government machine in a way that it works for the people. There’s a big difference!

6. For the people of the mining states who realize that there’s not much future in mining: Begin programs that will help and educate these people so that they can continue living and working with dignity as proud Americans.

7. The American people could have a kick-ass economy by using the Democratic proven formulas of the past. If you don’t believe me, go back to the past administrations and see the results.

8. The Democrats have always stood on a platform of structure, rules and regulations and decorum.

If you want to know the truth, the Repubs actually know all this, but they don’t want the simple people to know it. Which boils down to why are the Repubs in politics if they’re not there to help the people?

Joe Wright

Oklahoma City

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