American Academy of Actuaries chimes in: GOP "fixes" for King v. Burwell are utterly worthless

Reading this story by Sarah Ferris at The Hill reminded me of the closing scene from Glengarry Glen Ross (starting at around 2:50 in).

WILLIAMSON: Where have you been, Shelly? Bruce and Harriet Nyborg?? Do you want to see the memos...? They're nuts... they used to call in every week. When I was with Webb. And we were selling Arizona...they're nuts...did you see how they were living? How can you delude yourself??

LEVENE: I've got the check...

WILLIAMSON: Forget it. Frame it. It's worthless.

LEVENE: The check is no good?

WILLIAMSON: You stick around; I'll pull the memo. I'm busy now.

LEVENE: Wait a minute...their check's no good? They're nuts...?

WILLIAMSON: You wanna call the bank, Shelly?  I called them.  I called them four months ago when we first got the lead. (pause) The people are insane. (pause) They just like salesmen.

From the Hill article:

Republicans have spent months pitching ideas on how to limit the potential fallout from next month’s Supreme Court decision that could wipe out ObamaCare insurance subsidies in at least 34 states.

But so far, none of their proposals are likely to stave off the massive disruption of the healthcare marketplace that would result from a ruling against the Obama administration, according to a newreport by the American Academy of Actuaries.

The most popular idea backed by Republicans — eliminating the requirement for individuals to have health insurance — could cause the most damage, according to the group. The report warns that option would “threaten the viability” of the entire market.

...Another popular Republican plan — a temporary extension of premium subsidies — also drew criticism from the American Academy of Actuaries, which warned that it would only “delay the market disruption.”

This is what I've been talking about for months.

Republicans need to get it through their skulls that there is no "turning back the clock" at this point. You can't repeal the entire ACA, and trying to tear away one leg (or even two) of the 3-legged stool will only make things worse.

Face facts: There's only 3 possible ways for you out of this mess:

1. The Supreme Court rules for the government in King v. Burwell.

2. The Supreme Court rules for the plaintiffs, and all 34 states immediately break new land-speed records for legislative, budgetary and technological action by establishing exchanges in only 5 months.

3. The Supreme Court rules for the plaintiffs, and you take 5 minutes out of your day to pass a 1-page bill along the following lines:

Anything else will result in an utter mess you've brought upon yourselves.

UPDATE: Greg Sargent of the Washington Post and Dan Mangan of CNBC both have noteworthy takes on this latest chapter:


The inability of Republicans to coalesce behind a solution to this conundrum — how to protect people with preexisting conditions while doing away with the individual mandate — may be one of the leading reasons we still have no GOP alternative to Obamacare. Even if Republicans could pass a cleantemporary extension of the subsidies without repeal of the mandate, that would still end up punting that conundrum into the lap of the eventual 2016 GOP nominee, since what to do next would be heavily litigated in the 2016 election.

Mangan, meanwhile, has a hell of a quote from ACA opponent Robert Laszewski:

"If the Supreme Court throws out the subsidies ... this is going to be a political disaster for Republicans, and they're unprepared for it," said Robert Laszewski, an Obamacare opponent who is president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consulting firm. "It's unbelievable how short-sighted the Republicans have been here."

"The American people have a sense of fairness," and will be unhappy to learn that people in states are losing health coverage while those in states with their own exchanges will retain their insurance, Laszeswki said.

"The Republicans are going to get the blame," he said. "I think the American people are going to see it for what it is, an attempt to kill Obamacare."