News leaks from last month's Republican congressional retreat revealed there's a growing concern that precipitous change to the individual health insurance markets created by Obamacare will trigger their collapse.
GOP backbenchers worry that former Secretary of State Colin Powell's invocation of the Pottery Barn rule, issued just before the invasion of Iraq, will apply: If you break it, you own it.
The vestigial moderate wing of the GOP is attempting to come up with what on the surface looks like a compromise. Unfortunately, it can't work—not unless the majority party is willing to put money behind it comparable to funding for the Affordable Care Act.
The likelihood of that happening is not one of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's unknown unknowns. Short answer: very unlikely.
The Patient Freedom Act, introduced last month by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), would leave it to states to decide how and whether they should move toward universal health insurance coverage.
They could keep Obamacare, which in theory would be music to the ears of blue states like California, New York and Massachusetts. Or they could pass a plan like those touted by House Speaker Paul Ryan, whose vision for universal access (not coverage) entails the voluntary purchase of “affordable” high-deductible plans linked to health savings accounts. Or they could do nothing at all, presumably an attractive option for many of the 19 states that never expanded Medicaid.
The plan is designed to win enough Democratic support to get 60 votes in the Senate, which is necessary to pass any ACA replacement. “Now you can say to a blue-state senator who is invested in supporting Obamacare, 'You can keep it, but why force it on us?' ” Cassidy told the news conference where he unveiled the bill.