As America enters the first days of a Biden presidency, many brace for what might be the key legislative focus of the administration.
Thus, there exists a bi-partisan concern on the minds of many Americans, and that worry is healthcare.
Amidst a global pandemic coupled with deep concerns about the economy, President Biden wants you to know that he has a plan.
But, before you get all comfy and wrap that plan around you like a nice warm blanket, let’s take a few minutes and break down what is (and isn’t) part of his proposed "Bidencare."
First, let’s outline some positives found within the president’s plan.
It's not all bad.
Within Bidencare itself are things that Americans, regardless of party affiliation, could (and should) support. For example, Bidencare promises to end the practice of surprise billing.
Too many Americans have been driven to bankruptcy by that underhanded practice.
Additionally, Biden wants to end the provision of Medicare part D that restricts the government from negotiating Rx prices directly with manufacturers.
Uncle Sam is the largest single purchaser of drugs in the United States; why there is a provision of Medicare Part D that would preclude Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from negotiating better pricing is beyond me, but nonetheless, there is, and Biden wants to end that.
The ability to negotiate would save taxpayers billions.
Other positive’s include provisions to enforce anti-trust authority to remove market concentration across the healthcare system, allowing consumers to buy prescription drugs from other authorized countries, removing the tax breaks for medical advertisement spending by drug manufacturers, and even improving the supply of generic medicines by ensuring generic companies can have a viable sample of the medicine to be duplicated prior to the patent expiring, in order to be ready to compete.
Again, all of these things would be great, and regardless of whether one has an "R" or a "D" next to their name, these things should be supported.
If President Biden had stopped there, he’d have my full support in this healthcare endeavor; however, he didn’t. Along with the previously mentioned positions, within his plan, Biden also plans to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which forbids government spending on abortions.
He also wants to codify Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), and repeal TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws; that is: parental notification requirements, mandatory waiting periods, and ultrasound requirements.
For many conservatives, these are absolute non-starters.
The crux of his plan is three-fold.
First, Biden plans to expand Obamacare by increasing tax credits and subsidies to offset increased premiums and removing the poverty level rate cap.
In short, everybody gets tax credits and/or money to buy health insurance (which doesn’t actually lower the cost of health insurance, rather adds more cost to the federal budget). This may be why Wall Street poured millions into Biden’s campaign as health insurance companies have seen significant stock price increases since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The second aspect of Biden’s plan is to reduce Medicare eligibility to age 60.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) already projects that Medicare will be insolvent by 2024 based on current enrollment projections --- this will just accelerate that.
The third and key feature of his plan; however, is to officially replace "Obamacare" with "Bidencare," a public option or said a different way, a federal insurance program.
And while the price tag is one thing, for those who have ever enjoyed government-run entities such as the Post Office and the Transporation Security Administraton (TSA), I’m sure we can derive and enjoy the same level of efficiency and effectiveness with government run healthcare.
With all of this so-called great and "free" stuff, what the president has failed to include in his plan is how he (and by he, I mean we) will pay for it?
During the campaign, President Biden outlined a plan to undo the Trump administration tax cuts and remove the capital gains tax loopholes; however, analysis by independent organizations including the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that even after these maneuvers, Bidencare could still fall $850 billion short over the next ten years.
That is not an insignificant number. Currently, the CBO projects that U.S. federal debt will reach 195% of annual GDP by the year 2050, 10 years sooner than originally projected because of the COVID pandemic.
Adding the Bidencare public option would increase current projections of the federal debt a staggering additional 30% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2050.
As we look for our economic rebound post-pandemic, increased spending and the taxes required to fund the wish-list of the left would halt this recovery in its tracks.
While free health insurance sounds good, what most don’t understand is that free health insurance isn’t free healthcare, and "Bidencare" expanding more health insurance to individuals is doing nothing to lower the runaway cost of actual healthcare (the care we actually receive).
Since the passage of the ACA over 10 years ago, deductibles have risen to astronomical rates, meaning insureds are on the hook for more costs in addition to their health insurance premiums.
According to the Kaiser foundation, deductibles for "silver" level plans increased 87% between 2014 and 2020.
These increases have led to nearly one in three American’s currently having some level of medical debt, and nearly 30% have balances exceeding $10,000.
Americans hold nearly $82 billion in medical debt, $45 billion of which is in collections, and according to surveys conducted by debt.com, and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, two of three bankruptcies in the U.S. are tied to medical-related debt.
As we continue to look for solutions to our nation’s healthcare crisis, we must look at the problem in its entirety.
Access to quality health insurance is one part of that, but we also must address the rising cost of the care we receive.
We need solutions that don’t stifle our innovative system or crash our economy in the process, and quite frankly, Bidencare just doesn’t get it done.
Seth Denson is a Business & Market Analyst, Author, and Entrepreneur. He co-founded one of the nation's most successful consulting firms and authored the best-selling book, The Cure: A Blueprint for Solving America's Healthcare Crisis which takes a deep dive into the business structure of our U.S. healthcare system and how we can reform it while maintaining our free-market. As a regular on-camera contributor, Seth has garnered a national presence discussing a range of topics including business and economics, politics, faith, and fatherhood. Originally from West Texas but with international business experience, Seth's "no-bull" approach blends metropolitan thinking with good old-fashioned Texas straight-talk. Reads Seth Denson's Reports — More Here.
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