Virginia Republican congressman Dave Brat told Breitbart News Saturday radio host Matt Boyle that the American Health Care Act bill written by Speaker Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) is designed to save the insurance companies, not return health insurance and health care delivery to the free market.
Brat said the speaker is worried about the insurance companies, who backed the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, because the system they created cannot be sustained because of its perverse incentives, regulations, and costs.
In addition to the flaws in the Obamacare legislation and buildout, the congressman said it is foolish to attempt a political solution to an economic problem that forces you to accommodate the needs and values of 300 million Americans — such as people in both California and Texas — at the same time.
The RyanCare bill is not connected to the promises President Donald Trump made on the campaign trail, said the former head of the economic department at Randolph-Macon College.
“We want Trump to be hugely successful, so we don’t want to handle a bill that’s going to fail in a few years,” he said.
“Trump ran on price-discovery and competition across state lines, getting the price down — the price is going up by 20 percent and the bill we are getting ready to vote on, once again, goes back and does too much emphasis on the coverage aspect,” he said.
Focusing on coverage makes it impossible for the bill to ever work, he said.
“Five percent of the people with pre-existing conditions, et cetera — very serious issues that every bill deals with — but five percent of the folks will cost 50 percent of the entire health care market,” he said.
A pre-existing condition has nothing to do with insurance, because the person already had the problem, he said. “That is not an insurance problem. That is a health care problem, and we’ve got to fix that. For the rest of the 300 million, we’ve got to design an efficient system that follows free-market logic, where you get to go shop.”
Obamacare has many rules and restrictions governing how the insurance companies structure policies and run their own firms, he said.
Lifting the regulatory burden on the insurance industry would free them to innovate, he said
“In the current bill, I’ve asked leadership, budget committee experts: ‘Can a young person go out and buy a health care insurance product of their choosing?’ The answer is no,” he said.
The reason is that the regulations on the insurance companies require certain “essential health care benefits,” so that everyone in the country is forced to buy the same coverage, whether they need it or not,” Brat said.
In the RyanCare bill, the individual mandate was supposed to go away, but instead, it is reconfigured as a continuing care option tied to the pre-existing condition protections, he said. Under Ryancare someone can go without insurance for 10 years and then upon learning they have cancer, sign up for “insurance.”
Brat said the only penalty would be a 30 percent surcharge upon their premiums. “It is a perverse economic system.”
The congressman said nothing makes the politics of the RyanCare bill more plain than the fact that in 2015, Republicans in the House and Senate passed a flat-out repeal of Obamacare — when everyone knew it would be vetoed by President Barack Obama. Now with real bullets, Republicans are stepping away from repeal to put forward a RyanCare bill that preserves the structure and spirit of Obamacare.
The speaker’s bill is unlikely to pass the House, but even if it makes it to the Senate, it will not pass there, either, Brat said.
Then, hopefully, the Republican leadership will work with Capitol Hill conservatives to craft a true repeal of Obamacare that synchs up with what Trump promised the American people, Bratt concluded.
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