The morally grotesque Republican healthcare plan

28560596 - gray word on red wall

There is something morally grotesque about watching Republican legislators — all of whom get free Obamacare Plus on the public dime — compete with each other over designing the most unjust healthcare insurance system for others who may rely on the public dime.

I have a simple suggestion. Let’s mandate that Republican legislators get only the healthcare insurance that they give to the most vulnerable among us including the unemployed and those employed in blue collar work. If poor people get lousy Trumpcare, Republican legislators should get lousy Trumpcare too. That’s what justice requires.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]If poor people get lousy Trumpcare, Republican legislators should get lousy Trumpcare too.[/pullquote]

How can we determine what a morally just healthcare insurance plan might look like? It’s not as hard as you might imagine. John Rawls, the greatest political philosopher of modern times wrote that if we want to know what justice requires of us, we ought to imagine the world we would want if we didn’t know the position that we would occupy in that world. In other words, justice is what we would choose if we didn’t know if we were rich or poor, black or white, brilliant or plodding, talented or talentless. Or, expressed colloquially, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Since it is unlikely that Republicans are going to create a Trumpcare that copies their high end insurance plans, the changes to Obamacare that Republican legislators propose must apply equally to them.

This is especially simple for Republican legislators who rely on the taxpayers to fund their health insurance. Justice means providing for others what legislators mandate that taxpayers provide for them. If they get government funded insurance — beef Wellington for every meal — it is immoral to force their poorest constituents to subsist on dry cereal without milk. Going forward, Republican legislators ought to get dry cereal without milk, too.

Since Trumpcare doesn’t mandate that employers provide insurance for their employees, the Federal government should not provide health insurance for Republican legislators. They should be forced to buy their health insurance on the open market. That will surely be very expensive, but it would save the a fortune for taxpayers. Of course if they think they are entitled to comprehensive health insurance, that’s what they should provide for the poorest among us.

Obviously Republican legislators wouldn’t qualify for any insurance subsidies since they make $174,000/yr, and they wouldn’t qualify for the new tax credits, either. Of course if they think that their comprehensive health insurance ought to be free from them, justice requires that it be free for everyone else.

Mandate that Republican legislators who are older be required to pay up to 5X more for insurance coverage than their younger colleagues. Not to worry, though; they could contribute up to $13,100 to pre-tax health savings accounts. That should be super helpful since self-insuring their families will cost about $6000 per year … before extras. If Republican legislators think that’s too onerous for them, it’s obviously too onerous for anyone else.

There would be no maternity benefit. That’s extra. If a Republican legislator wants to have children, he or she will have to pay for coverage with an expensive maternity rider or out of pocket, just like poor constituents. Babies might die as a result? Big deal. Republican “pro-life” legislators don’t give a damn if babies die, just so long as women are forced to give birth to them first.

Ironically, many Republicans are howling that the new plan is too generous! Surely if it’s too generous for poor people, their health insurance is far too generous for them.

If they want to exempt pre-existing conditions for others, their insurance shouldn’t cover pre-existing conditions. Child was an insulin dependent diabetic before Dad was elected to Congress? Now Dad will have to pay for insulin out of pocket.

If Republicans want to deny health insurance coverage to children between 22-26 that ought to apply to Republican legislators as well. And the same thing goes for lifetime caps. Legislator’s husband gets diagnosed with metastatic cancer? We’ll cover the first $1,000,000; after that they can pay the tab.

Don’t forget religious exemptions. No birth control on the public dime. Republican legislators and their spouses can just pay for it out of pocket.

Wait, what? Republican legislators think they’re entitled to better health insurance than their constituents who might be coal miners, factory workers, or stock boys at the local supermarket? Why? It can’t be because they are providing a more valuable service than those who work in mines, factories or supermarkets. Republican legislators just sit around and talk.

If a lousy Trumpcare plan is good enough for poor people and blue collar workers than it’s good enough for Republican legislators. Mandating that the government pay for Obamacare for legislators but not for constituents would be morally grotesque, wouldn’t it?