— Matthew Burrow —
First, Alexander broke prior promises to his constituents in Tennessee by voting against Senator Rand Paul’s amendment to repeal Obamacare.
As America’s Liberty PAC (ALPAC) has publicized, Alexander was one of six Republicans who voted against the same repeal language they previously voted for in 2015, and had vocally supported since 2010.
Then, after repeal efforts narrowly failed, Sen. Alexander hurried to team up with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and schedule “bipartisan” hearings on how to “stabilize” the insurance markets.
Translation: Alexander is preparing to team up with Democrats to inject taxpayer money into health insurance companies.
You can call it “cost-sharing payments” or “stabilization funds”, or you can call it “subsidies” or “bailouts”, or a number of other even less pleasant terms.
You can call it whatever you want, but the bottom line is – it’s antithetical to the Republican platform, conservative and free market principles, not to mention it runs counter to that stingy document, the U.S. Constitution.
As Senator Paul strongly stated in July, “What made America great were not insurance regulations, insurance stabilization funds.”
“What made us great is leaving people free to trade with each other, not regulating trade, getting the government out of it.”
“To me, replacement is legalizing inexpensive insurance,” Senator Paul explained. “That means the federal government doesn’t regulate it and allows the sale of inexpensive insurance again, legalizing the ability to join an association across state lines.”
“I thought that is what we as Republicans believed in. But it turns out many Republicans actually believe in this giant insurance bailout super fund. Nearly $200 billion (in the former Senate proposal) that they’re going to give to the rich insurance executives and rich insurance companies. So I’m not for that.”
Senator Paul is absolutely right.
Nonetheless, many Republicans are committed to the concept, even using the ole strategy of selling it as “must pass legislation” to prevent catastrophe in the health insurance markets.
Alexander and others have been pushing this proposal since the beginning of 2017. As The Hill reported in February, “Sen. Alexander said Republicans may have to step outside their comfort zone soon to prevent insurers from bailing out of the market and leaving millions without healthcare.”
And more recently July Alexander went further saying, “We need to put out the fire in these collapsing markets wherever these markets are.”
Basically, what you and I can expect to hear in the weeks ahead is, “We must pass this giant bailout superfund so government officials can dole out taxpayer cash to private corporations at a later date, as we see fit. Trust us, this is the only way to prevent millions of Americans from losing insurance and possibly even dying in the streets. Actually, Senator Bernie Sanders says that people will certainly die in the streets if we don’t pass this bill.”
So what’s next?
The hearings will start the week of September 4, when lawmakers return from August recess. Alexander and Murray say their aim is to act by September 27 when insurers must sign contracts to sell individual insurance plans on Healthcare.gov for 2018.
When Congress returns after Labor Day, America’s Liberty PAC is prepared to continue fighting for full Obamacare repeal and free-market reforms to the health insurance markets. Any attempt to further regulate, subsidize, or bailout insurance companies will be fought tooth and nail by America’s Liberty PAC, Senator Rand Paul, and our allies.