Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dubious Rubio's Health Care Policy is Scary

Sen. Marco Rubio wants to delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. This is no surprise. Rubio's latest reasoning is the Hispanic Obamacare language website isn't up and running yet. The press release from Rubio's Senate office.

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement today regarding the Obama Administration’s indefinite postponement of cuidadodesalud.gov, its Spanish-language enrollment website for ObamaCare: “Hispanics have among the highest uninsured rates in the nation. Yet despite hundreds of millions of dollars devoted to a Spanish-language propaganda campaign, the Spanish-language ObamaCare website hasn’t even been launched.

“It’s not fair to punish anyone for not buying ObamaCare when the website they are supposed to buy it on doesn’t work. That is why I intend to introduce legislation to delay the individual mandate until the GAO certifies that the ObamaCare exchange website has been fixed and fully functional for at least six months.

“I still believe that Obamacare will eventually be repealed and replaced. But at the very least, all should be spared from its tax penalties and having the IRS come after them until all of ObamaCare’s enrollment options are fully functional for at least six months.”

Rubio’s legislation, which will be introduced when the U.S. Senate reconvenes next week, delays the individual mandate until six months after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) certifies the websites and all other sign-up options (phone, mail, fax) are fully functional. Thereafter, it exempts people from paying the mandate fines if they can prove that they tried to sign up but could not because of technical or customer service issues.

Rubio has been shouting from the rooftops about repealing Obamacare. Rubio has been vague about what he would replace Obamacare with. Rubio hasn't actually filed health care reform legislation and I doubt he ever will. Rubio's entire white paper on health care reform is 3 paragraphs on his Senate website. Read the magic from the mind of this policy wonk.

Floridians everywhere have expressed their concern about health care costs spiraling out-of-control. The President’s new health care law will drive costs up, bankrupt the country and create bureaucratic red tape when it comes to everyday health care decisions. Lowering health care costs is essential to growing our economy and creating jobs in our country.

We should propose common sense, free-market ideas to make health care more accessible and affordable. Senator Rubio will focus on three goals: repealing and replacing Obamacare; allowing individuals to control their own health care choices; and returning control of health policy to the states. In January 2011, Senator Rubio signed on as an original co-sponsor—his first bill as a co-sponsor—of legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) to fully repeal the health care bill that President Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010. The legislation is identical to the repeal bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Senator Rubio is one of 34 Republicans co-sponsoring the bill.

To start lowering health care costs and begin to reclaim our country, Senator Rubio believes we need to take simple, common sense actions, including allowing individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines, encouraging small businesses to band together to form Association Health Plans, giving individuals the same tax breaks given to businesses, incentivizing the use of electronic medical records; giving people tools to make cost-conscious decisions, increasing the number of community health centers, incentivizing state medical malpractice reform, enhancing Health Savings Accounts, pursuing medical malpractice reform and adopting a sensible program to cover those with pre-existing conditions.

The Department of Health and Human Services released a report on the Congressional Budget Office finding health insurance costs going down in 11 states that have started early implementation of the exchanges.

In the eleven states for which data are available, the lowest cost silver plan in the individual market in 2014 is, on average, 18% less expensive than ASPE’s estimate of 2014 individual market premiums derived from CBO publications.

Rubio touts tort reform. A 2009 CBO study found that tort reform would save a total of only $11 billion from national health care cost. The total savings would be $54 billion during a ten year period. That adds up to around 0.5 percent of national health care costs. I doubt Rubio has done the math. What it would do is take money from trial lawyers (big Democratic donors) and give less protection to patients from malpractice.

Rubio fails to explain how buying health insurance over state lines would work. That is interstate commerce and falls under the federal government jurisdiction. It appears Rubio wants the federal government to have no role in interstate commerce. Interstate commerce is why the executive branch has a Department of Commerce. The Supreme Court has already ruled interstate commerce falls under the federal government with Wickard v. Filburn. There is also the matter of Commerce clause of the Constitution that givers the federal government the power to regulate business across state lines.

Rubio's replacement for Obamacare is unregulated insurance policies and people not having the power to file lawsuits against malpractice. Who the hell would want to sign up for that?

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