The AHCA, also know as “repeal and replace,” has suffered an embarrassing defeat, and that makes me happy. It’s looking likely that Obamacare is going to survive. For now.
The Republicans are in an interesting position. Most conservative intellectuals seem to think that the goal should be to keep health-care costs down, and to that end, the government shouldn’t be involved beyond trying to make sure everyone has access to low-cost catastrophic care insurance. In their view, it’s good for ordinary health-care expenses to be paid directly by consumers, because otherwise consumers won’t have any incentive to negotiate or shop around for better values, and health care costs inevitably rise.
Liberals, on the other hand, mostly believe that the way to keep health care costs down is through government price controls. These can be “hard” price controls, like some other countries have, in which the government simply tells medical care providers what they can charge. Or it can be the “soft” price controls of a superbuyer – if a government organization (like Medicaid or Medicare) is bvuying health care for millions of Americans, it can use that position of power to negotiate much better prices than consumers can on their own.
What’s interesting is that both parties have incentives to not admit what they want to the public. Republican complaints about the ACA include high co-pays and deductibles – but actually, in their view, having people pay a lot for non-catastrophic medical care is a good thing.
Similarly, very few elected Democrats will talk about “price controls,” because that sounds scary and communist and such, plus they don’t want to piss of the doctors.
Of course, I’m not saying both parties are equally bad – on health care, the GOP is clearly much, much worse. But it’s still an interesting parallel: Neither party dares admit to their voters what price-control policies they actually want.
Anyway, feel free to use this thread for all ACA and AHCA related discussion.