Demagogues Aim To Sink Kavanaugh
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
Democrats are so desperate to torpedo Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court that they’re resorting to scare tactics, telling Americans that his confirmation would put 130 million people at risk of losing their health insurance.
Senator Schumer, minority leader in the upper house, says Democrats can sink Judge Kavanaugh by showing how his appointment will lead to a court majority that “repeals [the Affordable Care Act] with its protections for preexisting conditions.”
It’s demagoguery. And it’s working, as demagoguery too often does.
Senator Manchin, a Democrat of West Virginia and a frequent Trump ally, is already moaning that the high-court appointment will determine if “West Virginians with preexisting conditions will lose their health care.”
Not true. Even if the Supreme Court does strike down the ACA someday, the era of insurance companies turning down applicants with health problems is over.
Across the country, Republican and Democratic state lawmakers agree on that. They’re busy devising a smarter way to protect people with pre-existing conditions and keep insurance affordable, with or without ObamaCare.
Not one of these plans throws people with health problems under the bus. Democrats’ rhetoric about losing coverage for pre-existing conditions is hysteria.
Even so, Democratic fear-mongers have a shot at derailing Judge Kavanaugh, because they only need one Republican defection. With Senator McCain absent due to brain cancer, Republicans have a razor-thin 50-49 majority.
A TV ad targeting two Republicans, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, claims the GOP has “a plan to install a Supreme Court Justice who will overturn” protections for people with serious health problems and “take us back to a time when insurance companies could deny you coverage.”
It warns viewers that “130 million Americans” could be dropped.
What’s the truth? Before ObamaCare, fewer than half a million people a year were turned down by insurers because of poor health. Not 130 million. It was a tiny problem that needed fixing.
Unfortunately, ObamaCare fixed it the wrong way — by requiring insurers to charge healthy people and chronically ill people the same amount. It’s extortion.
Five percent of the population use 50% of health care. Healthy buyers pay sky-high premiums with huge deductibles, and seldom get anything covered when they see a doctor. All their premiums are going to cover the 5%.
During the first six years of ObamaCare, premiums tripled. Actuarial experts point to its misguided insurance-pricing scheme. No wonder red and blue states alike are looking for a better way.
Alaska, Minnesota, Maryland, Oregon, and Wisconsin are reimbursing insurers for their costliest patients using general revenues to bring down premiums for everyone else.
Sure, you might expect blue states to go that route. But red states are adopting the same fix. Governor Walker of Wisconsin, a conservative Republican, is vowing to maintain protections for people with preexisting conditions by reimbursing insurers with public funds to cover the costs of chronically ill Wisconsinites.
The state predicts premiums will drop 13% in 2019 and another 12% in 2020.
To get out from under ObamaCare’s rigid federal regulations, 20 states, including Wisconsin, are challenging ObamaCare in court. The states that are suing cite unaffordable premiums and insurers exiting the exchanges, and say they should be free to devise better remedies. As Wisconsin is already doing.
It’s possible that in two or three years, the lawsuit could reach the Supreme Court, where a Justice Kavanaugh would have a vote. Alarmist Democrats are flagging the lawsuit as an attack on protections for people with preexisting conditions. Nonsense. As the states are proving, ObamaCare rules aren’t the only way to protect people with preexisting conditions — just the dumbest way.
The states are maneuvering around ObamaCare rules to give the healthy lower premiums and still protect the seriously ill. That sure beats scaring the nation with phony numbers and misleading warnings about pre-existing conditions.
As for Judge Kavanaugh, he has never written one word about covering or not covering preexisting conditions. To smear him as an enemy of the sick is pure flimflam.
Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research