Saturday, June 26, 2010

Not Very Repealing

Marco Rubio is showing that he’s really not thought things through. At first he was in favor of repealing the healthcare reform law; in fact, he’s campaigned for the Florida Senate seat on the premise that he would do that if he was elected. Now he’s saying, well, I’d only repeal parts of it; there are some good things in it after all, like the pre-conditions ban or the coverage of children up to the age of 26.

Steve Benen outlines the flaws in this argument.

The first is that the Rubio line isn’t exactly coherent. If he plays a role in scrapping the entire law, that will get rid of the very provisions he now claims to support. Maybe he’d try to pass the “good” provisions in a new bill, but that would take a lot of time, and may ultimately fail. Ultimately, Rubio can’t have a full and partial repeal at the same time.

The second is more substantive, and it’s a lesson that Republicans simply refuse to even think about, no matter how many times it’s explained to them. If you’re prepared to ban discrimination on those with pre-existing conditions, then the policy must include an individual mandate. It’s not that complicated — if those with pre-existing conditions are to be protected, the mandate is necessary to keep costs from spiraling and to prevent the “free rider” problem.

Of course, if there’s an individual mandate, then it’s also necessary to include subsidies to those who otherwise couldn’t afford coverage. And once you put this string together — protections for those with pre-existing conditions … which requires a mandate … which requires subsidies — what you’re left with is the Affordable Care Act that right-wing politicians like Marco Rubio are so anxious to repeal in its entirety.

I think what’s really going on is that Mr. Rubio is finding out that the law is gaining in popularity among the voters and that campaigning on the idea of taking it away will go over like a lead pastelito.