Republicans railed against Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) from the day the legislation passed. The 2016 elections gave the GOP the political ability to do what they frequently tried and promised, repeal and replace Obamacare. Yet, after seven years, they had no coherent replacement plan.
After bruising intra-party battles last spring, the House narrowly passed its healthcare bill, on a straight party-line vote. Now, the Senate is trying to find a compromise conservatives and moderates will accept.
Democrats are apocalyptic; "millions of Americans will die if the Republican bill passes." News flash, in 2009, Obama’s first year in office 2,437,000+ Americans died, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In 2014, the first year Obamacare was in effect (and last year of CDC data) 2,626,000+ Americans died. Using "progressive math," apparently Obamacare actually killed more Americans.
How do we find ourselves in this mess?
In 2008, candidate Barack Obama promised health care reform. He had a specific idea how to devise the plan.
Barack Obama, Aug. 21, 2008, town hall, Chester, Virginia:
"I'm going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We'll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies — they'll get a seat at the table, they just won't be able to buy every chair … we'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies."
Obama repeated some form of that statement throughout the campaign including in the debates.
That "big-table negotiation" never happened. The bill was written by the exact special interests that Obama promised wouldn’t. They came in through the back door of the White House under cover of darkness. Recall the words of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "We have to pass this bill so that you can find out what’s in it."
Scrap Obamacare and start over where candidate Obama suggested. We must have a national conversation that determines the goal of health care reform.
Collectively, the country has to decide do we want:
A) To provide health care for as many people as possible.
B) Reduce the health care costs.
The unspoken truth is it’s impossible to accomplish both.
Obamacare added 20 million people to the healthcare system. Twenty-million people with real medical needs, and who are among the most expensive to treat. Obamacare imagined premiums of young healthy people subsidizing higher-cost enrollees. It was a mirage. Young, healthy people never enrolled in Obamacare.
Obamacare also adds significant regulations and red tape for caregivers. The codes physicians use to classify illnesses increased from 14,000 to 68,000.
Obamacare adds patients and regulatory burdens without adding a single doctor, nurse or hospital bed. Two surveys (The Great American Physician Survey and The 2016 Survey of America’s Physicians) conclude there are fewer practices, less Med-School applicants and more doctors that simply don’t accept any insurance. Like the law of gravity, the laws of supply and demand are immutable. Increase demand by 20 million people but don’t increase supply and prices will increase.
There are many ways to lower healthcare costs. There is, however, no path to reducing costs while paying for another 20 million people, many of who are among those with the highest healthcare costs.
It is possible to provide health care to more people. As the Bernie Saunders-Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democrat Party state, we are one of the few industrialized countries without "single-payer" (read: government or socialized) healthcare. Which also may explain why citizens from those countries, with the means, come here for critical health care procedures.
Somebody has to foot the bill for the care of the additional people. The majority of new enrollees coverage get paid by federal Medicaid transfers to the states. These transfers are huge redistributions of wealth.
Options under debate in the Senate are not tax cuts for the rich. None of the Senate bills actually cut Medicaid spending — only roll back the huge increases Obamacare demands.
So, what’s the goal? Cut medical costs or provide health care to everybody. It is not possible to do both. If the objective is to cover every American, look at Canada, the U.K., and others, where they wait weeks and months to see specialists. Are you willing to wait too? How high insurance premiums will you agree to pay? How large of a deductible can you accept? These are some of the costs to provide more people healthcare. As long as Newton’s law of gravity is true, universal health care will not become less expensive.
Andy Bloom is a former communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio, and as operations manager oversaw content for Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, and Sports Radio 94 WIP, Philadelphia for eight years. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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