Will Congressional Republicans pass the Alexander-Murray bill that will fund cost sharing subsidies and make other small changes to the Affordable Care Act?
At this point it seems unlikely. The bill has some Republican support in the Senate, but Speaker Paul Ryan as ruled out a vote in the House. In each case, the bill's opponents are arguing in extremely bad faith, alleging that it's a "bailout" of insurers when, in reality, the goal is to reduce individual premiums for average people.
And there's another problem. Even the Republicans who supposedly support the bill are saying bad things about it. Senator Ron Johnson, for example, is speaking out of both sides of his stupid mouth.
The former co-sponsor of the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill says it's a bailout but he also admits cutting off the so-called bailout will actually cost more.
“I’m hoping everybody understands how much resistance there is for funding these Obamacare markets that will never be self-sustaining,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who has been talking with House Republicans about an alternative plan. “It’s a very legitimate point of view from conservatives.” [...]
“Not funding CSRs cause premiums to increase and is literally costing American taxpayers more money,” he said. “That’s a hard little reality to get everybody to acknowledge, but it’s the truth.”
Ron Johnson and empirical reality are two things I would not ordinarily pair together and, apparently, they're two things Ron Johnson himself rarely pairs together.
But he's not wrong, at least not in the latter half of his muttering. Paying the cost-sharing subsidies costs less than not paying them because the resulting increase in individual premiums will also increase the federal government's share of individual premium subsidies.
It's pretty simple and easy to understand, but a majority of Republicans in Congress are committed to arguing in bad faith. Some, like Ron Johnson, are committed to arguing in bad faith and telling the truth at the same time.
This is par for the course for Ron Johnson. He co-sponsored a bill that would have cut Medicaid funding for other states while directing more to his own. At some level he understands that there are benefits to having government subsidies health care, but he's also a self-interested politician.