…Heidelberger Offers Thune Interim Plan to Soft-Land ACA Repeal
The rise of Trump may have made Governor Dennis Daugaard throw in the towel on Medicaid expansion, but Rick Knobe isn’t so easily cowed. Knobe, who pushed for Daugaard to call a special session on Medicaid expansion last summer, says there’s still plenty of time for South Dakota to cash in, literally and morally, on this useful program:
…it is going to take the new administration months to get their feet on the ground. You also know they are NOT going to be able to scrap the Affordable Care Act and start over, and any changes in Medicaid will take equally as long, leaving all of us in limbo. Not a good place to be.
I urge you to change your position. You have invested much time and energy. That time and energy has given hope to the many poor people in this state, who are craving leadership and truly need assistance [Rick Knobe, “Disappointed With Governor Daugaard,” KSOO Radio, 2016.11.18].
Indeed, our Führer probably can’t make the ACA go poof on January 20, and any replacement program may not kick in until 2019. Even a couple years of coverage under expanded Medicaid would do tens of thousands of South Dakotans, not to mention our slumping state economy, a world of good.
Whether the Trumpist Party is at all worried about Medicaid beneficiaries remains to be seen. But Senator John Thune acknowledges that the transition period between ObamaCare and Trump-Doesn’t-Care will require some sort of interim coverage program for folks on the ACA exchanges:
Well, I think that there will have to be a plan in the interim that takes care of people who are on the exchanges today. And we’ve always assumed that there would be a transition period where if, in fact, it is repealed, that it can be replaced with something better. And that – that may take a certain amount of time, but the sooner the better [Senator John Thune, interview with Steve Inskeep, “Sen. John Thune on the Republican Party’s Legislative Priorities,” NPR: Morning Edition, 2016.11.18].
Hey, Senator Thune! Need interim health insurance for 12.7 million ACA exchange customers? There’s a solution staring you in the face, a cost-effective insurer currently taking care of nearly 56 million Americans. It’s you—er, us, the American people—via Medicare. Rescind every ACA exchange policy, transfer all exchange policyholders to Medicare, and have Uncle Sam guarantee their health coverage until the Trump Administration enacts its Conservative Affordable Care Act… whose acronym will summarize what people will think of it after enjoying Medicare.
Remember, back in 2015, Donald Trump said he wouldn’t cut Medicare. Trump affirmed the effectiveness and popularity of our greatest social insurance program: “Abolishing Medicare, I don’t think you’ll get away with that one. It’s actually a program that’s worked. It’s a program that some people love, actually.” So, given our President-Elect wouldn’t renege on such a clear promise, we can count on Medicare not only to take care of Grandma and Grandpa but also provide robust stop-gap coverage for millions of Americans who would otherwise be left out by the Trump-publican repeal of the Affordable Care Act.