Rand Paul is a self-described libertarian, but his idea for how to fix our healthcare system sounds awfully socialist. On the right, Paul has been one of the biggest critics of Trumpcare, calling it “Obamacare lite.”
“What we think is being hidden from conservatives is there’s a lot of ‘Obamacare Lite’ in their bill,” the Kentucky Republican said on CNN’s “New Day” Friday. “There’s a new entitlement program. … There is also a Cadillac tax or something similar to the Cadillac tax that was in Obamacare. And there’s also an individual mandate, believe it or not. Instead of paying the mandate to the government, they’re going to tell you you have to pay the mandate, by law, to an insurance company.”
Paul, speaking at a Freedom Works rally, had his own proposal, which might as well have been an advertisement for the National Rifle Association. His suggestion is that people should be able to buy health insurance through the NRA.
Here’s the video:
You see what he did there?
The truth is, this isn’t the worst idea in the world. The NRA is a sizable membership organization, but it’s far from the biggest. The fact is, large groups people have a lot more clout than individuals. AAA has 40 million members, as compared to the NRA’s 4.5. The AARP would probably be happy to negotiate with insurance companies and sell policies to their members.
Inadvertently, though, the rabidly anti-union (but pro-gun) Republican, made the case for unions. Individuals don’t have much if any negotiating power with insurance companies, or really, anyone. Still, Republicans want to leave individuals on their own, with the imagined idea that somehow, shopping is equivalent to negotiating. It’s not. If you have the option to buy from six overpriced plans, you’re still paying too much, but hey, you got a choice.
The third largest membership organization in the world is a union. Unfortunately, you have to work for them to get the benefits of their negotiations, but if more people had access to unions, prices would drop across the board.
But, there is one major problem with Paul’s idea. Most employers, including most union employers, pick up at least part of the monthly tab. That’s where the government subsidies that Republicans hate would come in. If an organization like AAA or even the NRA were to offer health insurance, it would still cost a lot more money than a decent employer plan, at least without some government help.
Sorry, Republicans, but unions aren’t synonymous with corruption anymore than the corporations that supply the paychecks, but they do give workers a voice, and in the case of goods and services, they give workers negotiating power. All free market Republicans should be behind more negotiating power, but the truth is, Republicans only want the market to be free for large corporations. All the rest of us should be at their mercy.
Still, even at half bad, it’s better than Trumpcare.
Featured image via video screen capture