American Elephants

Fixing ObamaCare, One Small Step At A Time by The Elephant's Child
October 15, 2017, 6:39 am
Filed under: Politics

The Republican Congress’s had long promised to repeal ObamaCare, but when push came to shove, it didn’t happen. The Trump administration is working to overhaul the American health care system without the help of Congress. Naturally the media is screaming about the poor and dead children, but ObamaCare was always a deeply ill-advised scheme intended to force the country into single-payer insurance, giving the government ultimate control of the people’s health—and consequently forcing the people to vote for Democrats or lose their health care.

What happened is that the Obama administration was unable to resist lots of control of the Affordable Care Act, for physicians, hospitals, and insurance companies, and a number of the controls simply didn’t work. They decided, for example, that a doctor’s appointment should last for 7 minutes. Over the course of his first months in office, President Trump signed an executive order to allow groups to purchase insurance across state lines, entering competition into the program and saving money. He rolled back funding for a program intended to help individuals navigate the insurance market, and stopped federal funding for ObamaCare subsidies.

The administration announced late Thursday that it was ending a  program that was illegally reimbursing insurers for CSRs—or cost-sharing reduction payments to health insurers. Congress refused to appropriate money for that program, so Obama just did it by executive order, and sent the money to insurers, which was illegal. A federal court even ruled so. Another executive action instructs regulators to allow small employers to band together to offer their employees insurance — the same freedom enjoyed by large companies. A third action loosens the rules on short-term health insurance, making it possible for it to be renewable. Depending on how this develops it could pull young and healthy people out of ObamaCare exchanges.

These actions all underscore a weakness of Obamacare. It limits choices and raises premiums, but makes it impossible to address these problems without threatening other parts of it. Its proper functioning requires policymakers to give it subsidies and write regulations to close off avenues by which consumers could escape it — even when the statute itself does not require these regulations or fund these subsidies; even when the additional support violates the Constitution.

Even before these actions, liberals were crying that Trump was undermining Obamacare by limiting open-enrollment periods and cutting back on outreach to get people to sign up. Perhaps a law that requires its opponents to nurture it was not especially well-designed?

The thing that Democrats don’t care to admit is that ObamaCare is in the process of collapsing anyway. When your insurance company announces that they are going to raise the cost of your premiums by 41% consumers will escape. That’s just how it works in the real world. If you are interested in Single-payer insurance, look into what the British papers have been exposing for years. Slashed budgets mean that old folks die of dehydration or neglect in the hospital. Ambulances park outside hospitals with their patients because they can’t accept more patients immediately.

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