By J. D. Heyes, editor-in-chief
(National Sentinel) Healthcare reform: As Democrats and Republicans feud over the latest GOP effort to “reform” health care, Obamacare continues to collapse, leading to sky-high insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses so high tens of millions of Americans are ‘covered’ in name only. For far too many plans, “insured” Americans would have to get hit by a truck for their coverage to pay anything at all, and still they’d be left with thousands of dollars’ worth of expenses that were not covered.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Democrats foisted upon the nation the worst public policy ever when they passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010 without a single Republican vote of support. Worse, that Obamacare is now collapsing was all by design. And why? Because Democrats love big, fat, centralized government, and since everyone will need healthcare at some point in their lives, what better way to exert big, fat, government control over the people than by “managing” their health care?
But so do some Republicans.
Granted, the GOP is attempting to unravel at least some of that awful law, but as noted by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and a handful of other GOP senators balking at supporting the legislation, the bill retains far too much of Obamacare’s original “command-and-control” of our health insurance and health care markets (as well as Obamacare’s subsidies).
Which brings me to the point. Paul, a physician, is one of the few legislators who is asking the right question surrounding this healthcare “debate” and that is this:
Why does the government have to ‘manage’ our healthcare in the first place?
Seriously – how did we get to the point where Americans and their health care providers must bow down before self-anointed bureaucrats and elected officials and seek their permission and approval for the manner in which their care is to be paid for and delivered? Why is this no longer a decision between the private sector and consumer, between patient and health care provider?
The effort to strip Americans of the liberty to seek their own care under agreements made between them, providers and insurers began long ago, when Uncle Sam began paying for the medical care of so many Americans. Over the years, between Medicaid, Medicare, the Veterans Administration and a host of other taxpayer-funded programs and entitlements, the federal government became the biggest healthcare customer in the country, spending hundreds of billions of dollars per year in the industry. So it was only a matter of time before Congress and the vast federal health care bureaucracy came to believe that he who has the gold should make the rules.
Never mind that in doing so the federal government has stripped tens of millions of Americans who are not receiving any federal health care benefits of their liberty to act in their own self-interests when seeking care and coverage.
“As families across the nation continue to suffer under this law, I only hope that Democrats in Congress will have the political courage to help fix what we know to be a catastrophic situation — a total disaster — that they have created. To be part of the solution, instead of obstructing — always obstructing — change, blocking reform and doubling-down on Obamacare’s failure,” President Donald J. Trump said Saturday in his weekly address, a reference to the GOP’s health care bill.
“Americans were promised lower premiums, more choices and better access. Instead, premiums have doubled nationwide and insurers are still fleeing the market that Obamacare has nearly destroyed. Americans in nearly one-third of all counties have only one insurer to choose from on the exchanges, and many markets may soon have no insurers at all. It really is a disaster,” Trump added.
Fair enough. But here’s the problem, as reported by the Western Journalism Center:
The website Vox reported Saturday that under a proposal being considered by Senate Republicans, Americans who let their insurance lapse would be barred from buying insurance on the market for six months.
According to the report, the rationale behind the provision is that healthy people need an incentive to maintain insurance. Otherwise, only the sickest people would ever buy insurance, ultimately leading to a system with sky-high premiums.
Do you see the problem here? The fact that government wants to force people to buy something in the first place is the problem. Why force anyone to buy something they may not want or need?
This is a perversion of our free-market system, and as Obamacare has proven, the perversion has (predictably) led to market conditions (sky-high rates and deductibles, as well as higher prices for care) that Democrats promised the law would reduce.
Now Republicans seem to want to repeat the same perversion.
Uncle Sam is never going to completely get out of the health care industry. Medicare, Medicaid and the VA aren’t going away. But if Republicans really cared about individual freedom and restoring health care liberty and choice, they should concentrate on a healthcare reform that allows the free market to operate outside of government interference, while keeping controls in place for government-funded healthcare programs.
By doing that, the GOP would also be giving Americans a huge incentive to not be on “government-provided” insurance and care. And via the free market, where insurance companies and health care providers once again had to compete for customers, prices would finally begin to fall, while quality (and efficiency) of care would rise.
Why aren’t more folks in Congress asking the right question: Why does the government have to ‘manage’ our healthcare in the first place?