You have to admit. Republicans are adept at coming up with crazy solutions to today’s problems. Whether it’s Chris Christie cancelling a job-creating railroad tunnel leaving taxpayers with a billion dollar hole in the ground or Newt Gingrich telling elementary school kids to take time away from their studies and family to do janitorial work, Republican ideas put The Onion to shame.
Now it’s Missouri GOP Senator Roy Blunt who’s suggesting that we undermine the core principle of medical insurance by allowing any employer to deny any coverage that the employer has objection to. So an employer who is a fitness nut could opt out of providing insurance to his overweight employees. An employer could deny coverage for lung cancer, stating that smoking is a choice – ignoring the fact that non-smokers also get lung cancer. And a hyper-religious employer could opt out of providing mental health care if he believes prayer is a better solution.
The whole idea of insurance is a shared risk pool, and if a cafeteria plan is offered, the cost of coverage for individual diseases would skyrocket. Of course, no one knows what ailments will be suffered down the line, so Blunt’s plan would be functionally equivalent to no health insurance at all, in many cases. But since premiums are being paid, Blunt’s scheme would be a windfall to the insurance companies.
Blunt’s preposterous proposal takes the focus away from the GOP’s war on women. It moves the focus away from insurance for contraception by enabling denial of coverage for arbitrary aspects of medical care. Of course, the best solution to the soaring cost of medical services is a single-payer system like Medicare for all, but eliminating the insurance middle man is an anathema to both parties, who receive tons of political contributions from the medical-industrial complex.
So Blunt wins the Crazy GOP Idea of the Week Award this week. Even though his bill will never see the light of day, I’m sure the GOP will come up with another whopper next week.