Relatively not bad news about Health Care Reform

Via (one of) the brillian Waldmans

I find a very interesting and actually somewhat reassuring article by Caitlin Owens

“Obamacare repeal? More like Obamacare reform”.

I strongly recommend reading the article which considerably reduced my fear and loathing.

An excerpt

To be clear: Republicans will likely call whatever they end up doing Obamacare repeal, especially publicly. And when you end up with something vastly different, what’s the difference?

What they say they won’t get rid of:

Pre-existing condition coverage
Letting children stay on their parents’ plan until age 26
Lifetime caps on coverage
Medicaid expansion (but it will look different)

What they say they will go after:

Essential health benefits (insurers won’t have to cover as many things)

Age rating bands (bigger range of premiums will be allowed)

There’s no step-by-step plan yet — because they had never planned for a President Trump. “We’re in rapid detox of holy crap, we have to actually do this,” the first aide told me.

I love the “holy crap” quote. Now this is only somewhat reassuring for reasons. First, Owens talked to aids. They are people who actually know what is in the ACA, but they have no power. There is no reason to be confident that actual senators will listen to their aids. Second, people talk to reporters for a reason. The apparently very frank statements might be a trial balloon soon to be shot down by enraged conservatives. Third the list of what to keep doesn’t include exchanges, subsidies or a mandate. Even if the claims of the anonymous aids correspond to the decision of a majority of senators, they leave $ 60 billion questions open.

Partly, I love the article, because the anonymous aids confirm that Republicans have been post policy for years. I also liked this quote

Congress tested its repeal strategy last year using “reconciliation,” a procedural tool that prevents legislation from being filibustered in the Senate. Even this repeal bill didn’t get rid of the whole law. But one of the aides said this version of the bill was mostly about “messaging,” and that this time, “We’re not going to use that package. We’re not dumb.”

I am shocked shocked that congress passed a bill which they knew was “dumb” just for messaging.

Repeat of warning: these are anonymous quotes from sources who may have influence but don’t have power and who are motivated by motives.

update: Waldman[n]s think alike.