Scrap Ryancare

Member Group : Guest Articles

(This article first appeared at

As Republicans brace themselves for an expected vote this Thursday on U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Obamacare replacement bill, they’re failing President Donald Trump and the millions of Americans who voted for real change.

Instead of going through with an exercise seemingly guaranteed to hit a brick wall in the Senate, House Republicans should start over and pass a clean bill that repeals Obamacare lock, stock and barrel.

By any measure, former President Barack Obama’s signature piece of public policy has been a disaster, driving up costs and premiums even as it limited consumer choice.

Our bankrupt federal government is borrowing and printing money to pay for it.

With Obamacare, we’ve seen the future and it doesn’t work. Let’s now remember what does – freedom and free markets.
Trump and Republicans in Congress campaigned on the promise of repeal and replace. They won and it’s now their turn.

The Republican leadership under U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., has proposed a plan: the American Health Care Act.

However, conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus oppose the plan; and US Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, declared Ryancare is dead-on-arrival in the US Senate.

Trump has both lauded the Ryan plan and indicated his willingness to negotiate and compromise in order to pass a repeal and replace bill.

Ryan drafted the AHCA in private without input from House and Senate conservatives. He’s been ramming it through the various House committees allowing no amendments.

Trump was left in the unenviable position of trying to defend it.

Trump made a mistake deferring to Ryan. Trump is now negotiating from the middle instead of from the right. He went to Capitol Hill Tuesday to meet with Republican leaders to build support for the proposal.

He and America would have been in a better place had he demanded from the Republican leadership a clean repeal first to be followed later by separate bills making free-market based reforms.

Instead we’re starting with Ryancare, which is only slightly better than Obamacare. It deserves the pejorative moniker Obamacare Lite. It keeps the prohibition on pre-existing conditions instead of pursuing the market-based high risk pools.

It continues the unaffordable Medicaid expansion for at least another three years.

It continues the "essential," but often unnecessary, unwanted and costly benefit mandates.

Instead of eliminating tax subsidies, the Ryan plan will pay them directly to the insurance companies.

These massive subsidies are a bailout – more crony capitalism. And, the last-minute changes to Ryancare made by House leadership are too little too late.

Trump should demand Congress repeal Obamacare altogether. Then he should work to return health insurance to what it’s supposed to be – insurance against risk of catastrophic loss, not a payment system for regular health care expenses.

By phasing out third-party pay for most health care expenditures, and returning to first party pay for regular health care needs, insurance costs will decline significantly.

They’ll go down further if we eliminate the benefit mandates. Also, by decoupling health insurance from employment and expanding Health Savings Accounts, we’ll achieve portability and put the patient first.

With Obamacare, we’ve seen the future and it doesn’t work. Let’s now remember what does – freedom and free markets.

Let’s dismantle the mandates, regulation, subsidies, restrictions and controls and get the federal government out of the health insurance business.

The competition of the free market will drive costs down and increase affordability and most importantly access to health care providers, which is by the way what health insurance is for.

Marc A. Scaringi, an attorney, is a PennLive Opinion contributor, whose work appears biweekly. He hosts "The Marc Scaringi Show," which airs Saturdays at 12 p.m. on WHP 580 AM in Harrisburg and online at iHeart Radio. He writes from Camp Hill, Pa.