To the extent that Republicans have become “post policy,” Speaker Paul Ryan seems to be leading the charge to return them to being “post truth.” In other words, he is attempting to revive the old system of pretending to present policy proposals that help Americans, but really just benefit the 1%ers. Nowhere is that more obvious than with his unveiling today of a GOP plan to replace Obamacare.
There is nothing new in this plan. It contains all of the old standbys Republicans have been talking about for a while now: refundable tax credits, health savings accounts, high risk pools, block-granting Medicaid, a voucher program to replace Medicare, etc. Oh, and as Kevin Drum notes, while we’re at it, lets raise the eligibility age for Medicare to 67. But there are two pretty big things that were not included in this “plan”:
1. No budget information on costs
2. No projections on what it would mean for the 20 million people who have gained insurance under Obamacare.
When those kinds of questions come up, here is the response:
Asked about the plan’s effect on coverage, a Republican leadership aide said Monday, “You’re getting to the dynamic effect of the plan and we can’t answer that until the committees start to legislate.”
I’m not sure why Ryan bothered with this. He seems to think that having 37 pages in a report (3 of which are apparently devoted to talking about how bad Obamacare is) will convince us that his reputation as a “wonk” is deserved.
Steve Benen does a great job of identifying why Republicans will always come up short on producing a plan to improve health care coverage.
Republicans haven’t been able to come up with a credible reform package for some pretty obvious reasons: (1) they’re a post-policy party with no real interest in governing; (2) health care reform has never really been a priority for the party, which would prefer to leave this in the hands of the private sector and free-market forces; and (3) trying to improve the system requires a lot of government spending and regulations, which contemporary GOP policymakers find ideologically abhorrent.