Why is Congressman Markwayne Mullin not telling the truth again? First, he did not tell the truth about term-limiting himself, and now, he is not telling us the truth about our health care.
In 2011, Mr. Mullin was running for the Second District seat in Congress and promised to serve no more than three, two-year terms, or a total of six years. He was quoted as saying, “I don’t want to be up there (in Washington) and become part of the problem.” In 2017, Congressman Mullin broke that promise and ran for a fourth term.
In Sept. 7 & 8, 2019 edition of the Progress is a release from his office alleging the cost of a “Medicare-for-all” health care plan proposed by some Democrats would be “$32 trillion,” which is simply not true. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “U.S. health care spending grew 3.9 percent in 2017, reaching $3.5 trillion or $10,739 per person.” Well, perhaps he misplaced a decimal and he meant 3.2 trillion, but that means a savings of at least $300 billion compared to the current cost, which would seem to be a good thing. He also claims that covering the cost would require more than a doubling of taxes on every person and business, but-according to the Internal Revenue Service—total federal revenue in 2018 was nearly $3.5 trillion.
Our Congressman also assumes—without explanation—that you will not be able to choose your own doctor. Why not? Will doctors suddenly stop practicing? If all Americans paid for healthcare with Medicare-like coverage—except perhaps the very wealthy, would not most doctors accept the coverage? Some dislocations are inevitable, but Congressman Mullin cannot possibly know that all or even most doctors will not be available under a new plan, especially since there would be only one.
In the release he accuses President Obama and Speaker Pelosi of promising “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.” Strictly speaking, the Affordable Care Act “the “ACA” or “Obamacare” as he seems to prefer) did not force insurance companies to discontinue non-complying plans. I believe the companies discontinued non-complying plans because selling them would not qualify for favorable federal tax treatment, so no one would buy them. There was no reason for plans which were compliant to be discontinued. It was not the ACA that forced plans to be discontinued, it was the insurance companies themselves making business decisions, not any requirement of federal law. President Obama and Speaker Pelosi should have said, “If your insurance company continues to offer your plan and it is ACA compliant, you can keep your plan.”
Let us not forget that the ACA was supposed to be compromise. President Obama had initially proposed a single-payer, government-run system, not unlike the current proposals. In an effort to compromise with Republicans, he shifted to a “Massachusetts-like” plan which had been implemented by then-Governor Mitt Romney—also a Republican, which kept private health insurers in the system. As we all know, the Republicans rejected the compromise and the ACA was passed over strenuous objection.
The ACA has now been in effect for most of a decade. Some aspects are very popular, like coverage for pre-existing conditions and coverage for children to age 26. Perhaps most importantly, most Americans have healthcare coverage under the ACA than had it before. We still believe that we should “love thy neighbor,” don’t we? Or are we in a Dickensian dystopia where, if they are going to die, we should let them do it, and decrease the surplus population, as Mr. Scrooge suggested.
Congressman Mullin is trying to scare us. He does not want us to make an informed decision. He did not tell us the truth about term-limits and he is not telling us the truth about healthcare. Maybe he has become part of the problem in Washington, just as he predicted in 2011.
Mark H. Ramsey