The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, lost last week at the hands of the Republican majority in the House because it didn't work well.
While it extended coverage to millions of people, for many the coverage was not so affordable. It failed to cover millions more and failed to enroll millions of young people whose premiums were necessary to the scheme's solvency. As a result it exploded premiums even without covering everyone. Cynics suspected that Obamacare was planned to fail like this to become an inducement for the country to adopt a "single-payer" medical insurance system.
But the Republican "repeal and replace" legislation really isn't even insurance at all. It would reduce premiums mainly by eliminating coverage, giving states discretion to allow medical insurance policies to exclude treatment for serious ailments and to jeopardize coverage for the millions of people already afflicted with something.
The Freedom Caucus of House Republicans, which the new legislation was designed to placate, is celebrating only the freedom to be devastated medically and financially by catastrophic illness.
The Republicans in the House seem to know this, for they rushed the bill to a vote without waiting for an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. Some Republicans admitted that they voted on the bill without even reading it, which was a Republican criticism of Democrats back when the Democratic majorities in Congress hastened to enact "Obamacare".
But maybe the Republican bill is meant only as a pose -- to show that the party, at least in the House, can keep its "repeal and replace" pledge and advance legislation supported by President Trump. For Republicans in the Senate don't seem to be taking it seriously. Instead they say they will revise it or offer their own insurance bill. Since Democrats control 49 of the Senate's 100 seats, the outcome will be determined by moderate Republican senators.
Congress's objectives should remain the unachieved objectives of "Obamacare" -- getting basic coverage for everyone efficiently, preserving substantial choice among policies and insurers, socializing the burdens of catastrophic illness, lifting the insurance burden on business, and taking advantage of the progressive income tax system.
This might be accomplished in part simply by extending Medicare coverage to all catastrophic illnesses, those causing annual expense of more than $100,000. If achieving these objectives costs a little more money, the country's constant and stupid imperial wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere might be liquidated. Call it "America first."
Ask more from Indian tribes -- and MGM
Connecticut's casino Indian tribes are distributing a video attacking MGM for wanting to make money by drawing Connecticut residents to its casino under construction in Springfield. The tribes say that with their proposal to build a casino in East Windsor to intercept Springfield gambling traffic, they want to save jobs for Connecticut and revenue for state government. Of course the tribes want money as much as MGM does.
State government, collapsing financially, should want money more than all of them. But state government assumes that the only way of getting more from the tribes is to give them the "interceptor" casino, though their only real asset is the state's own property, the casino monopoly the state has given them in exchange for a share of their slot machine revenue.
State government has more options than the "interceptor" casino. It should tell the tribes that they must pay more for their monopoly from the state, and it should ask MGM how much it would pay the state every year not to authorize an "interceptor" casino.
Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.