Here is the key question: Did Dr. Tom Price, a longtime Republican Congressman from Georgia and, most recently, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), know that dismantling the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was a terrible idea for all of the last eight years or did he just now realize the negative impact of his actions and advocacy?
Dr. Price recently spoke at the World Health Care Congress, an important meeting of the major stakeholders of the health care industry. In a moment of clarity, the former champion of the repealing of all that is Obamacare said this about eliminating the Individual Mandate:
There are many, and I’m one of them, who believes that that will harm the pool in the exchange market. Because you’ll likely have individuals that are younger and healthier not participating in that market, and consequently that drives up the costs for other folks within that market.
Don’t worry. Within in a day he was walking back his statements, claiming that he was being quoted out of context. As this blog has long contented, the first casualty of the creation of the PPACA was intellectual honesty. Dr. Price is now hoping that nonpoliticians, such as his current employer, a health care staffing company, will focus on his new understanding of insurance basics. Dr. Price is also hoping that his old buddies in the Republican controlled Congress will ignore his moment of candor and welcome him back in the club when he comes calling.
There are any number of Republicans who, now that they have chosen to not run for reelection, have suddenly been gifted with clarity and/or honor. Exhibit one for most people was John McCain’s July 2017 thumbs down, the final vote to defeat the Republican’s attempt to repeal Obamacare. Most Americans forget that two other Republican Senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, had already voted against the poorly crafted measure. Were they the only three members of the majority who knew how disastrous repealing the PPACA without a real replacement would be for American, or did a number of cowards and hacks breathe a sigh of relief when McCain stood up in their place?
Now the airwaves are filled with the brave and honorable. Charlie Dent (R-PA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Bob Corker (R-TN) are just a few of the guys who suddenly feel compelled to share their thoughts on a variety of issues. And, one by one, as members of Congress and this administration become ex-Congressmen and ex-federal employees, we will get more honesty about both domestic and foreign policy. The input from insiders, no longer shackled by partisan talking points may help us to create better health care regulation.
First, we will have to forget so much of what these politicians said in the past. We need to say that it is all right now. Because the truth, no matter when it is delivered, should be welcomed. And it will set you free.
Picture – The Adult in the Room – David L Cunix