Why Does The GOP Hate Health Care So Much?

Governor Tim Pawlenty said he’ll build his presidential campaign around it.  The GOP leaders swear they will get it abolished.  It seems that there is nothing more important to the Republican party right now than denying people basic affordable health care access.

Via CBS news:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Republicans “owe it to the American people” to try to repeal health care reform.

“This was a terrible bill,” McConnell said on “Face the Nation” Sunday.

McConnel said the results of Election Day meant that “People who supported us – political independents – want it repealed and replaced with something else. I think we owe it to them to try,” McConnell said.

Also on the program, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., defended the sweeping health care legislation, likening the reform with other major initiatives, like the civil rights laws of the 1960s. “The fact of the matter is what we did with health care is to make that a fundamental right of every citizen.”

It’s no surprise really that the GOP is making rolling back health care access a key party platform.  With numerous states across the country flipping from Democratic to Republican majorities, a greater focus is being put on reigning in Medicaid costs as well as a means to balancing tight local budgets.

Texas, fresh off of declaring that states should get to opt out of social security, is declaring they should be able to opt out of medicaid, too.

“With Obamacare mandates coming down, we have a situation where we cannot reduce benefits or change eligibility” to cut costs, said State Representative Warren Chisum, Republican of Pampa [Texas], the veteran conservative lawmaker who recently entered the race for speaker of the House. “This system is bankrupting our state,” he said. “We need to get out of it. And with the budget shortfall we’re anticipating, we may have to act this year.”

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative research organization, estimates Texas could save $60 billion from 2013 to 2019 by opting out of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, dropping coverage for acute care but continuing to finance long-term care services. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which has 3.6 million children, people with disabilities and impoverished Texans enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, will release its own study on the effect of ending the state’s participation in the federal match program at some point between now and January.

Of course, when the numbers are analyzed by anyone not from the conservative think tank, it becomes obvious that opting out wouldn’t just be a disaster for the millions who rely on the plan for health care, but for the state’s basic budget as well.

The underlying rationale is that sacrificing the health coverage of poor people would be a worthwhile move if it solves the state’s budget crisis. If you’re a purist in opposing the welfare state — even at significant human cost to the most vulnerable — it’s a logical argument to make. But even if we all agree the goal is fiscal solvency, there’s also a chance that gutting Medicaid could end up backfiring.

The uninsured poor have already been resorting to hospital emergency rooms for care, and hospitals, in turn, have relied on state governments to cover the costs. If Medicaid coverage were pared back, the hospital ER would likely become the de facto safety net: The number of uninsured ER visits would invariably rise, and the state government would end up paying the price anyway. Texas’s own comptroller, Susan Combs, has admitted as much: In a 2005 paper, she proposes that the state’s Medicaid should be slashed and hospital reimbursements upped instead. But ER visits are extremely expensive, and they won’t serve as a particular cost-effective solution to eliminating insurance, which at least gives patients other options for care.

To be sure, there’s no question that Medicaid has been costly for state governments, and it’s understandable that the lingering recession would make state officials feel panicky about the future expansion. There are deeper programs still: the cash-strapped program only pays providers 66 percent of Medicare reimbursement rates, making it hard for Medicaid patients to find doctors who accept their coverage. Such dilemmas strengthen the argument for simply federalizing the entire Medicaid program, protecting it from the ideological and fiscal battles on the state level.

But until the day comes that a better Medicaid overhaul is possible, states must also realize that simply trying to wash their hands of the problem by stripping Medicaid coverage from the poor — without providing a reasonable alternative — won’t be the answer either. The uninsured poor will continue to get sick. They will continue to seek out health care. And many institutions — including state governments — will still end up paying for it.

Update: As Ezra points out Texas already has the highest proportion of uninsured residents in the nation, at 27 percent. If the state dropped Medicaid, that would go up to 40 percent.

Whether or not you object to the idea of balancing a budget on the back of the poorest and sickest of your citizens, slash and burn attacks on health care are truly the definition of “penny wise, pound foolish” politics.

wikimedia commons


Elizabeth R.
Elizabeth R7 years ago

Pharmacutical companies have the majority of Parliament by the purse strings.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago

thanx for article

Charles L.
Charles L7 years ago

The sad part of this mess is the number of wing nuts that vote for the Republicans because their pastor tells them that god. Wants them to be on this path.
Their god must have loved War!
There are still people in the public that believe Obama was not born in the USA.
With the amount of nuts from Palin to Limbaugh that have tried everything to get rid of our president that is impossible.
This next two years is going to be nothing done in the congress.
The Republican party is going spend all of this time trying to sabatage the health Care.

Charles L.
Charles L7 years ago

This is no surprise,the republican party picks on the people that do not have the resources to fight back.
They don't have the numbers to get anywhere with this.
But the sad thing is that is their plan get nothing done and blame it on the other party. So they can get Obama out.
The American public should demand that we have the same benifits as the congress everything including same years to vest our pensions.
Why people let money control our government it is a disgrace.
Just look at what they are against Womans rights, gays, Birthcontrol,Health Care, Medicare, SSI.
They want to invade other countries because of WMD and they don't want a treaty to get rid of them.
Right now the rest of the free world must think that this country is out of control after this last election. With money coming in support of elections without diclosesure we could have people in office supported by things that we do not aggree with.
The supreme court has failed to protect us.

Lindsey DTSW
.7 years ago

Ed G, you talk about 'rich' doctors. What minimium level in annual salary do you consider makes someone 'rich'?

Ed G.
Ed G7 years ago

Pne of the big reasons that GOP (and Tea PArty) types hate the healthcare plan so much is that the AMA is against it. The AMA has deep pockets (rich doctors got that way by overcharging) the doctor do not want to loose their big fees, so of course the AMA is against it. If fully implemented the doctors in the long run would loose all their big houses and big boats and country club memberships (or private clubs) etc etc etc.
I agree (to a point) that doctors deserve some of these rewards after all 8 years of medical & Advanced training and really long hours they do deserve some reward but the houses and the rest are just a little bit too much.
When I was young (20's) and into my 50's I was working holidays and weekends and midnights. Heck in my 50's I was working 100 hour work weeks (no OT either). I earned a reasonable wage for doing so, but not anywhere near what doctors make. Of course they (in some small percent of case) have life/death decisions which out weigh any responsibility that I may have had. At the same time I did have have plenty of responsibility in other areas maybe not quite equal to doctors but in monetary area millions of dollars were part and parcel of my daily duties. Do I begrudge the doctors, yes a little for not giving back to society a larger chunck of the rewards, I did not have the paycheck that enabled me to do so. Even if I had made an equal amount I would have substantially increased the amount I gave to to charities and volunteered mo

Mark M.
Mark M7 years ago

The Republican't TeaParty cliquers who holler about Affordable Health Care can be exposed like the Wizard behind the curtain. Here's how to call out the hypocrites and frauds: they can answer these questions:
1) How many will sign up for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program? It offers several options, including fee-for-service, point-of-service, and health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Senators and Representatives can also insure their spouses and dependents, they are covered immediately and without regard for pre-conditions, they have a Capitol Hill on-site pharmacy and clinic -- and the federal government pays 75% of the cost.
(www.suite101.com/content/health-care-for-the-us-congress-a72870) 2) How many newly elected (and incumbent) Republican and Tea Party members plan to seek repeal of the 2009 health care reform act? 3) How many (and/or how many family members) of these firebrands have what insurance companies typically deem a pre-existing condition? 4) For that matter, how many Republicans (and Democrats) who voted against so-called Obamacare have conditions that pre-existed their own elections? 5) How many members will answer questions 1 – 4? 6) Once however many members who would deny we the citizens a plan that is inferior to the one they will receive are outed by their replies, how many will forego coverage to remain true to their principles? 7) Will the media also ask these questions until Americans receive complete and candid replies?

Petra Luna
Petra Luna7 years ago

I don't think they get it.

Susan Weihofen
Susan Weihofen7 years ago

The GOP leadership will undoubtedly try to undo health care reform go after medicaid then medicare at that point in time the majority of there base may realize that the GOP has no interest in individuals only corporations.

Elise Lanciault-Breton
Elise L7 years ago

I don't think that GOP senators and/or governors hate health care, they just know that the person who voted for them do hate medicare so they have to act like this to get their votes on 2012 to be sure to have majority in house and senate.

PS: They also work with a lot of companies, and companies would lost a lot of money with medicare, therefor gop would lost a lot of persuasion