Donald Trump and his spineless Republican allies in Congress have repeatedly slammed the provision in the Affordable Care Act that mandates every American to purchase a basic level of health insurance. In order to bring down costs and cover everybody, the theory goes, everybody needs to have some skin in the game.
For seven years, the GOP has said that this mandate – which penalizes those who don’t purchase insurance – is the definition of tyranny. How dare the government force its citizens to take responsibility for their own health care?
Their just-released Obamacare replacement legislation, which Jason Easley wrote about a short time ago, does away with this insurance mandate (among other horrible things their replacement plan does) – at least that’s what Republicans are saying.
In a tweet a short time ago, House Speaker Paul Ryan even said this:
Our plan will eliminate costly insurance mandates & provide more affordable coverage options. #ReadTheBill
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 7, 2017
But don’t be fooled: the GOP replacement plan imposes even bigger fines for those who don’t purchase health insurance. The Republican refusal to call it a mandate doesn’t mean it isn’t one – and it’ll end up costing even more.
Tweet via Politico’s Kyle Cheney:
Under GOP bill, anyone who goes w/o health coverage for two months or more would face a 30% surcharge on premiums for a year. pic.twitter.com/krmLYLTOTn
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) March 6, 2017
Not only will Americans who choose not to buy health insurance still face stiff penalties, as Cheney highlighted, but the fines will be steeper and will instead go to insurance companies, not the government.
In other words, the Republican beef with Obamacare’s individual mandate wasn’t that it hurt the American people. It was that it didn’t benefit the insurance industry enough.
As The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer said in an epic tweetstorm, Republicans are now “totally fine forcing people to buy health insurance” because their replacement plan would give that penalty money to insurance firms instead of putting it back into the health care system. It’s essentially a subsidy for insurance companies.
But now, GOP is totally fine forcing people to buy health insurance. Mandate wasn’t punitive or profitable enough for Insurance firms.
— Mazel Tov Cocktail (@AdamSerwer) March 7, 2017
Once again, Republicans are making it blatantly obvious who they stand with and stand for. Repealing the Affordable Care Act was never about making life better for the American people. In fact, it seems that they think the law helps people too much and doesn’t help insurance companies enough, which is why their plan eliminates subsidies that help people buy health insurance and scraps the Medicaid expansion.
The Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would be a disaster for the American people.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.