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Here’s the stupidest thing the GOP is doing to fix Trumpcare

President Donald Trump confers with U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) following a luncheon celebrating St. Patrick's Day at the U.S. Capitol on March 16, 2017 in Washington, DC.
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President Donald Trump confers with U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) following a luncheon celebrating St. Patrick's Day at the U.S. Capitol on March 16, 2017 in Washington, DC.

The flawed Republican plan to replace Obamacare has been undergoing some quick rewrites, reportedly to gain more conservative support in Congress. But a look at the changes being considered shows a constituency other than conservatives that Republicans are most trying to please: Americans aged 50-65.

According to numerous reports, House Speaker Paul Ryan and his team are scrambling to increase government subsidies for older Americans not quite old enough to get Medicare, many of whom would see enormous premium cost increases under the original GOP plan.

Considering how likely this demographic group is to vote and how well Trump did among them in the last election, it's surprising this tinkering didn't happen sooner.

But this fix is just stupid.

The biggest problem conservatives and anyone who really understands the health care system in America has with the Republican plan isn't that it includes too few subsidies. The problem is that it has too many. In fact, like Medicare and Medicaid, the GOP plan sets up another set of entitlements the government will not be able to afford in the relative short run.

And in this case, the Republican plan subsidizes more wealthy people than it should, including older Americans. That's right, older Americans aren't the stereotypical grannies and grandpas huddling in a corner just hoping to get by. The opposite is true as seniors and almost-seniors are richer than any other age demographic in this country and they have actually been getting wealthier in recent years.

"Kowtowing to seniors is nothing new in American politics. But doing it right is something we don't see very much. This GOP plan adds to the existing funding problem and does nothing to provide better care for that cost."

But wait, there's more! Plans like Medicare that help older Americans are not the gold standard love fest that you may have been led to believe they are by the politicians and the news media. Yes, Medicare always does well in the polls. But those same polls often show that Americans know the program could be better and is on shaky financial ground. In other words, the American people know Medicare needs fixing. And the idea that they wouldn't support any changes that could fix it is simply false.

That brings us back to the GOP plan. Yes, the Republicans might stifle some of the blow back against their plan by boosting subsidies for that 50-65 set. But they will incur more conservative ire by increasing the taxpayers' liabilities while doubling down on the one thing people don't like about Medicare: How it's funded – or to be more honest, how it's not funded.

Just like Medicare isn't taking in enough payroll deductions from younger Americans to stay solvent, this new GOP plan sets up yet another subsidy that isn't clearly paid for and will increase the debt even more.

And nothing in this plan addresses the elephant in the room on American health care: Supply and demand. Seniors know this all too well as they face a shrinking number of doctors who accept Medicare patients. Even younger Americans have run into plenty of cases where their doctors wouldn't accept their Obamacare insurance plans.

If you simply ask seniors whether they'd be willing to pay more for Medicare by way of co-pays or some other way, they'd probably mostly say no. But if you asked them if they'd be willing to pay more in return for finding more doctors who take Medicare and provide more services as well, then you're likely to get a different response.

So, before the GOP shoves through another massive subsidy for that group of Americans just under Medicare age, they should consider a better way.

Kowtowing to seniors is nothing new in American politics. But doing it right is something we don't see very much. This GOP plan adds to the existing funding problem and does nothing to provide better care for that cost.

And lest the Democrats get too smug, the simple fact that their beloved Obamacare and Medicare plans are already going bankrupt cannot be ignored either. Both sides need to go back to the drawing board to fix these problems with something better than the usual short-term pandering... and fast.

Commentary by Jake Novak, CNBC.com senior columnist. Follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.

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