During an interview with Judy Woodruff on the PBS News Hour, Sen. John Cornyn (R, TX) paused in his criticism of ObamaCare long enough to praise the Medicare drug program: “We have also seen in the Medicare program with the prescription drug program this has really been one of the few successes we have seen in a government program like Medicare, where we actually have competition and transparency, and providers compete based on price and the quality of service.”
Apparently it is lost on the Senator that the Medicare drug program and the ObamaCare exchange-based health plans are strikingly similar. Both include government subsidies, government definition of basic benefit standards, government oversight of marketing and performance, and competition among private insurance plans. The exchanges differ by phasing out subsidies as income rises, and by devolving much of the regulation oversight to states, should states chose to exercise the oversight. It seems to this blogger that those two differences make ObamaCare more “Republican” than George Bush’s drug plan.
Meanwhile, 17% of Americans are uninsured. Those folks will continue to get sick, and continue to get at least a modicum of care. Much of that care will be very expensive, reactive, urgent, dramatic, and avoidable had those uninsured patients been able to obtain preventive and maintenance care. Someone still pays for this care. But the subsidies are hidden in the costs the remaining 83% pay through premiums and taxes. The current approach to financing care for the 17% is not transparent, and there is no competitive market place. But ObamaCare, which is as transparent and competitive as the drug plan, and which seems at its core to be a very “Republican” approach, has one irreparable flaw in the eyes of its opponents: it was enacted by Democrats.