Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Observations on the failure of AHCA

In the wake of the failure of the Paul Ryan's AHCA, there's been some very interesting commentary, some of it excellent, so of it execrable.  Here's a sample that I've found interesting.

Michael Hamilton and Justin Haskins of Heartland Institute argue in the Washington Examiner that the failure of AHCA is a triumph for the Freedom Caucus and opens an opportunity for real repeal and reform.  They also point out that the Republicans must use the nuclear option, and need to do this now.  I fully agree... unsurprisingly, given that I made a similar point in my Heartland press release comments.  (See the March 9 post below.)

Bob Laszewski, who also opposed the AHCA and who knows as well as anyone why ACA is a catastrophe, disagrees.  He thinks the only way forward is to modify ACA, and that the GOP leadership is closer to the Democrats than to conservative Republicans on this.  Hence he thinks Ryan and McConnell and Co. will appeal to Schumer and Pelosi.  I don't agree with Laszewski's analysis of the conservatives, but he may well have the big picture right.

John Goodman, arguably the leading thinker on free market health care (and the inventor of HSA's) has a great piece in Forbes that explains clearly why Obamacare is destroying health insurance, and why the AHCA was much worse.  Must reading!

Mark Levin has torn the AHCA to shreds on his radio program with careful and discerning criticism.  but for reasons I can't fathom radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Praeger seem to have lost their minds over the issue.  Hugh Hewitt rambles about how the Freedom Caucus members are "Area 51 Republicans" waiting for a flying saucer to carry them away to Roswell.  Dennis Praeger simply calls them "purists."  I guess that's what you do in lieu of rational argumentation, but I'm unsure why ad hominem arguments are supposed to be convincing.  Both of them claim that opposition to the AHCA was an example of "letting the perfect be the enemy of the good."  Yet as Goodman and Laszewski clearly explain, the AHCA was worse than Obamacare.  I make the same point in my previous post.

As I suggested in my previous post, it's possible Ryan & Co. understood what a mess they were proposing, and had ulterior and nefarious reasons it.  Hewitt and Praeger?  I'll be charitable.  I'll assume Hewitt and Praeger aren't disingenuous and malicious but simply have no idea of how insurance works or what adverse selection is... in which case they are ignorant and should simply remain silent.  Or as the late Murray Rothbard put it, “It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”

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