(Rich Galen, Mullings) – Well, that didn’t take long. Obamacare has been pronounced “Trumpcare” by opponents of the Republicans’ plan here in Our Nation’s Capital.
I was going to write exclusively about the new legislation but I quickly realized I can’t figure it out. The cacophony of “This is Good” “This is Bad” “This is New” “This is Old” “This is Better” “This is Worse” is so loud and so perplexing that I literally threw my hands up yesterday afternoon and decided to wait and see what happens.
We keep referring it as the health CARE bill, but it has nothing to do with health CARE. It has to do with health INSURANCE. It’s like saying a bill to reduce the deluge of auto insurance commercials on TV would be a car REPAIR bill.
The only person whom I am certain shares my befuddlement over what is in the Republican “Replace” of Obamacare is President Donald J. Trump. Unless and until it’s explained by a scantily clad young woman on Page Six in the New York Post he will have no more clue than I.
To be fair, I’ve never understood health insurance. For years people told me to get a Medical Savings Account, but I could never come to grips with how it worked. I think in its earliest days you had to guess at how much you would spend during the year and salt away that amount tax free.
However, if you didn’t use it, you lost it.
When I get one of my many prescriptions refilled, I never know what my out-of-pocket cost is going to be. I have Medicare Part D (the prescription coverage) but sometimes a drug will cost $53 and sometimes that same drug will cost $218 – as it did this month.
I gave up fretting about it because however much it costs, it is helping to keep me upright, so …
There is an annual deductible which, it seems to me, is determined by my having electronically spun the Wheel of Fortune, but maybe there’s some rhyme or reason. Then, long about June or July I descend into the Fire Swamp of Part D. My costs go back through the roof. About October, the insurance company begins to pick up the majority of the tab again, so I try get my battalion of docs to prescribe a year’s worth of the stuff in December.
That is one of those great ideas that never work in real life because the insurance companies have more actuaries on their staff than Mullings does.
The point of all this is I don’t know what’s on the table but I do know this: A lot of health-care-related institutions have people who have read the legislation and are against it.
Not just the AARP. They would be against it if the Republicans constructed a system that paid every penny of every health-related expense. But, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Nurses Association being in opposition will not help.
Every Member of Congress has at least one doctor and probably a nurse or two living in his or her District. Many have hospitals in their Districts. Lord knows there are old people just about everywhere I look these days.
President Trump is hitting the road this weekend to try and sell the plan in Kentucky. This is big news for me because it means he will not be spending the entire weekend in West Palm Beach.
I will be spending the entire weekend in West Palm Beach covering three Washington Nations spring training games and I would prefer not to deal with Presidential movements getting to and from the ballpark.
This will be an early test for the Trump White House generally and the President in particular. It is one thing to get whacked by the Federal Judiciary on a poorly thought out, and badly drafted travel ban. It is something else to fail to rally enough Republican support in the House to pass this bill.
If the Members go home and have fingers wagged under their legislative noses not to make health insurance even worse, they’re going to be hard-pressed to vote for it. If, on the other hand, their constituents are in a “My President Right or Wrong” mood then they will have to support it.
Oh, look. I wrote the whole column about Trumpcare after all.
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.