Today’s news brings the vote for the repeal and replace bill proposed by Republicans and negotiated for by President Trump. This bill is a lifeless zombie – the walking dead. No matter what gyrations Republicans go through to pass this convoluted bill or tactics they use to get 60 votes in the Senate, it is doomed to failure because the horse is out of the barn; Americans now believe healthcare is a right and will not stop their yearning for reform until a national single payer system arrives on their doorstep.
I described how that system would work in a previous article, when I said that healthcare has ceased to become an economic issue and it would be better to take that burden off of employers, who pay for much of the health care premiums in the country, once and for all. We should replace our current system with a national system, paid for by a consumption tax like VAT. A standard coverage should be given to all citizens and legal residents and supplementary private coverage would become available for those who can afford it.
But whether Republicans win or lose the current fight in Congress, single payer is where we are headed. It’s just a matter of time. Bet on it.
For the record, The Affordable Care Act aka “Obamacare” was a deeply flawed piece of legislation. It has resulted in a collapse of state health insurance markets and choice of coverage for millions. Prices for individuals and families have skyrocketed and the vast majority of the country was harmed so that a relative few could be covered. Not only that, but it’s fair to say that the economic recovery was stunted by anti-business rules that guaranteed coverage for those who were employed at an arbitrarily chosen number of hours per week. This caused many businesses to choose not to hire people over that threshold of 30 hours per week. Hence, depressed employment and hours.
What a holy mess, right?
Nope. It was sheer genius on the Democrat’s part and it will never be fully repealed and replaced. The Republicans who are now attempting this after 7 years of moaning about it are now finding this out. Look how they’ve had to twist themselves in knots trying to get the bill out of the House.
Because any attempt to return health care to an individual state system based on free market economics and choice, though well-intended, is doomed to fail simply because health insurance has ceased to be like other forms of insurance in the market. You see, while many types of insurance, like that for our cars and houses and even our deaths (life insurance) can be assigned premiums that make sense and actually work in the marketplace the way products are supposed to, health insurance does not fit an economic formula. It is completely emotional and it has become a “right” in the last eight years.
Those rascally Democrats under Obama, created a new entitlement for the uninsured, the formerly sick, undocumented immigrants and the poor (although they already had Medicaid. Entitlements NEVER get repealed and replaced. Never.
Furthermore, by creating a new entitlement (Obamacare), without any economic reason involved, Democrats and Liberals have removed the economic counterarguments that Republicans and Conservative can make. The entire argument for Obamacare was and is emotional and NO economic argument in the world can replace cries of “equity” and “fairness.”
Here’s the proof. When arguing on behalf of Obamacare, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi famously said: “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.” But if you actually listen to her whole statement, Obamacare really has nothing to do with economics, but was all about people’s health and their right to comprehensive care.
The Democrats put all of their social desires for healthcare in one bundle and passed it and there’s no going back. No amount of Republican economics or state mandate logic will ever be good enough, because economics and facts no longer matter to the American people. Not if there’s a chance that some of the 22 million newly insured (under Obamacare) MIGHT not get coverage under a new plan. Even though Medicaid would have covered them in the past. Okay, I will concede that “pre-existing conditions” were hard to cover at an affordable price or at all.
Oops, that’s the trouble -right there.
We’ve already made the decision as a nation that we would cover pre-existing conditions, eye care, preventative care and kids until they’re 26 year-old adults and other stuff that costs the vast majority of people in this country more money even if they don’t want the extra coverage, but reducing their costs would take the right to coverage away from some other Americans.
In other words, there’s no going back. You might even say that this was set up by those brilliant Democrats who were using Obamacare as an interim step toward… wait for it… National Health Insurance!
They really did. They created a new entitlement and ruined what was left of the free-market health insurance business simultaneously by subsidizing insurers and in effect, buying them off. They took the economics of health care out of play.
The only thing left for Republicans to do is turn it around on the Democrats by creating a decent single payer system for health care just like Canada and the U.K. The game for Republicans is already over, even if they do come up with something like the bills they’ve been messing around with because they’ve already lost the high ground. And they can only regain it if they finish the job Obama started and if they do it right. If they don’t, this issue will resurface under the Democrats in 2020 or 2024 and sink them.As for now, this zombie bill they are proposing is the walking dead – even if it passes.
Jon Saltzman is the Publisher and Senior Editor of Political Storm