Obamacare Is Back In The News

I don’t know about all of you, but I’m exhausted trying to keep up with the machinations of both political parties. The latest issue is the revival of our old nemesis- Obamacare. The question is: should it be restructured or flushed down the toilet?

A conservative judge kicked off the latest brouhaha by ruling that Obamacare was unconstitutional because a new law passed by Congress eliminated the “mandate”. The mandate relates to the requirement that every American must have health care insurance or pay a fine.

These fines were supposed to encourage healthier Americans to buy Obamacare health insurance, which would offset the costs of paying for the unhealthiest Americans among us. To say it another way, healthy people would be taxed for the benefit of unhealthy individuals.

The judge indicated that the mandate was necessary to make Obamacare work, so the mandate’s demise made the whole Obamacare law unconstitutional.

There are two benefits that everyone, including both political parties, wants to retain from Obamacare, the right to be able to buy insurance even if you have a preexisting condition, and expanded Medicaid assistance for the most needy Americans. Because of universal agreement on these issues, they would be logical starting point for a new political effort to clean up health care. It’s not likely that this will work currently because Congress and the president are in a dysfunctional mode.

The major obstacle for a new law is the insistence of many liberals that health care be a one-payer system (that being the federal government). This would be an enormous undertaking and certainly the most expensive route to take.

Allowing the federal government to control such a gigantic part of our economy is a recipe for disaster. The feds have not been successful operating businesses for the benefit of their constituencies in recent history. The probability of abuses, higher taxpayer costs and inefficiencies is high. Notwithstanding this, most of the two or three-dozen Democratic candidates for president are adamantly for a one-payer system.

Republicans would rather have a private health care system that would be competitive and strive to bring down health costs for the federal government and all Americans. Today’s version of Obamacare is fraught with fewer choices, high premiums, greater deductibles, bloated and unnecessary coverage and inefficiencies. In fact most Americans need to retain advisors to help choose the right plan.

Fewer and fewer plans are available as insurance companies are walking away from this unpredictable business. The current Obamacare system is about to implode, even after trillions of dollars have been wasted trying to make it work.

In the meantime both political parties are politicizing the Obamacare conundrum. It’s too bad the namesake of the disastrous program is now in retirement and not bearing any responsibility for the terrible law he jammed down our throats.

Democrats believe they can make political points by repeating over and over that the opponents of Obamacare are going to eliminate the precondition guarantee and the Medicaid assistance for the needy. This ploy will not succeed.

The fact is that health care is a monstrous issue that threatens the financial viability of the country. The government should oversee the system, but not operate it. All those who abuse the system including pharmacy companies, cheating doctors and patients who file false claims should be prosecuted. A private system that closely monitors health care is the best path to follow. Socialized medicine will never be successful in this country.

 

The Impending Demise Of The Affordable Care Act

The title of President Obama’s signature health care initiative could not be more misleading. So far, it has not been affordable; additionally, it has not been easy to understand or enroll into.

The New York Post* reported, “[a] survey [taken by the International Foundation of Employee Benefits], which polled . . . employers, and their health-care pros, found that [54%] of respondents, . . . [believe] ACA . . . [is] ‘negative’ or ‘very negative.’”

Indeed, Universal health care is a noble ideal. Ensuring that every American can find affordable treatment for disease is something the U.S. should strive to do. Unfortunately, the current legislation was rammed down our throatsdoes not provide affordable care and its implementation is going to cost American taxpayers far more than originally forecasted.

Small businesses with 50 or less employees are being impacted along with larger corporations even though they are exempt from the legislation. The principal issue is that soaring health care costs in general, since the enactment of ACA, are devastating them.

The backlash to ACA has also included a response from the Supreme Court, which ruled that Hobby Lobby, a large retailer, is not required to provide contraceptives as part of the medical insurance it offers to its employees. The exemption is based upon religious grounds. As time passes, others will likely request exemption for other reasons relating to religious beliefs and civil liberty.

Michael Wilson, CEO of the International Foundation, stated that many companies are taking actions to offset higher health care cost resulting from ACA that are detrimental to the health of our economy. These actions include: reducing the working force, reducing hours worked so fewer employees are working full time, freezing or reducing compensation and cutting back hiring.

The Post article indicates that one positive benefit is that companies have increased the dialogue they are having with employees about health issues. It should be noted that this is happening as the same employers are reducing employment and compensation.

The enactment of ACA, also known as Obamacare, was an ill-timed and very costly initiative. The nation was in the throes of the Great Recession, yet the president pushed a health care initiative through Congress that the country could not afford. The generally accepted perspective in the U.S. is that the money spent on Obamacare, which has increased dramatically from the start, would have been better spent on propping up the economy and dampening the impact of the recession on the middle and lower classes.

The epilogue to this bad story is that ACA will continue to be attacked by its detractors. Recent Supreme Court actions are a precursor to a much greater assault that will surely occur if Republicans increase their majority in the House and gain control of the Senate in the impending elections.

The saddest part of this nightmare is that universal health care is important to many uninsured Americans and it will not survive because the administration mishandled the effort.