Thursday, July 20, 2017


Two days ago I made another appearance with Republican Cathy Abernathy on KGET 17 News' 5:30 pm segment. The topic was the Republican-led effort to kill Obamacare, and replace it with the health care equivalent of, well, nothing.

Out of the gate I made it clear that the GOP's plan really isn't about health care. What they're calling a health care plan - by first repealing and then replacing Obamacare, some time down the road - is really a tax cuts for the rich Trojan Horse (which I explain 1:20 into the clip). It's a promise of a fabulous health care system, but only after the Republicans get their tax cuts for the rich, and then get rid of something that's actually working, Obamacare.

How do we know that Obamacare is working? Because it has opened up access to health care, and slowed down projected pre-Obamacare health care costs.

What people forget is that health care costs had been rising at an unsustainable pace when President Obama was elected in 2008. Think about this. In 1970 for every dollar we earned as a nation we spent 7.2 cents of it on health care. In 2009, when Obamacare was introduced, for every national dollar we earned we spent 17.6 cents on health care!

This is simply not sustainable.

During President Obama's first term, the Congressional Budget Office even projected that our nation would spend 20 cents of every dollar earned on health by 2018, and 25 cents by 2025.

This has not happened.

Today, not only are we spending about 17.8 cents of every national dollar on health care but, as Forbes reported, health care costs during the Obama administration rose at its slowest rate since 1960. As well, between 2010 and 2016 Obamacare helped lower personal (medical) bankruptcies by nearly 50 percent. What this means is that Obamacare is a stunning success when it comes to creating access and reducing health care related costs in America.

This also means that when Cathy Abernathy said - 25 seconds into the clip - "We don't need Obamacare ... It's hurting the economy ..." she was flat out wrong (OK, she was "lying"). Let me repeat: Obamacare has slowed the costs of medical care in our nation's economy to rates not seen since 1960.

More importantly, as the Wall Street Journal reported, Obamacare has added years to the life of Medicare.

The other point I made in the clip - and what I want to emphasize here - was that the Republicans aren't serious about replacing Obamacare. Their "plan" to repeal and then replace Obamacare with something better (that only they know about) down the road is really a Trojan Horse.

I closed my comments by pointing out that the GOP's assumptions are based on wishful thinking (2.6% growth rates when the CBO projects it to hit 1.9%), and by reemphasizing that the Republicans current health care efforts are really just another round of tax cuts for the rich.

Cathy ended with some nonsense about "the government," which left us all looking at each other.

- Mark

You can access the KGET 17 News segment by clicking here.

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