What Will America Look Like after Obamacare?
Americans have to understand that repealing Obamacare is not an episode of Bewitched, where a twitch of the nose brings results. Perhaps President Obama knew this when he signed into law this disastrous bill in 2010. It is now so entrenched within our society that is has become similar to a virus that infects the whole computer, destroying everything in its path.
The analysis from the Center for Health and Economy estimates that the cost of premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act will increase by $9.8 billion next year. This is an increase on average of 25 percent, but some states like Arizona will jump as high as 116 percent. Also expected is the loss of insurers, which will drop by 28 percent. Remember the famous line: if you like your insurance, you can keep it? Not this year, where one in five consumers must choose from a single insurer after major national carriers such as UnitedHealth Group, Humana, and Aetna scaled back their roles.
It is obvious that Obamacare is heading toward its own death spiral, so why is there a need to repeal it? With budget reconciliation, most of it can be revoked, but not all. For example, the aspect that deals with insurance regulation and the parts that are more policy than budgetary issues will not be repealed. Republicans would need sixty votes in the Senate to repeal all the legislation, and they have only fifty-two.
President Calvin Coolidge emphasized that it is important to stop bad bills from passing, or they stay on the books until Congress undoes the legislation. Since there is no "sunsetting" this bill, it is like the Energizer battery, that keeps on going and going.
Should Americans be worried about chaos ensuing after repeal? Once repeal happens, many questions remain, including how many people will fall out of the system, lose their insurance, be denied coverage, or have coverage so costly that they will not be able to afford it. Will the seniors have their insurance skyrocket because they, by the very nature of their age, will be considered high-risk?
Some health experts noted, "If we are able to repeal it in one fell swoop, it will be replaced within a three-year timeline. But what other option should Republicans have: wait until premium hikes increase to 40 percent per year or have health care unaffordable to many more people?"
The Republican goal has to be restoring and enhancing competition, keeping costs down, and allowing Americans to have some kind of insurance security. One of the interviewees feels that "a lot of people, including some Republicans in Congress, do not understand the true nature of the problem: excessive government interference. The free-market economy by its very nature should keep prices in check. We cannot create something that is not much different than what is there now, with one kind of pork replacing another kind of pork that only has a change in sauce. We cannot just have a bill that is Obamacare with an 'R' in front of it."
But there is a ticking clock to the 2018 election. Republicans must find a way to supersede the press and Democrats, who will be campaigning on Republican incompetence, especially if repeal happens with nothing to replace it. An interviewee said the Republican replacement "must find a smaller role for the federal government with the exception of facilitating the interstate sale and purchasing of health insurance. States should be allowed to work out solutions to have the consumer no longer separated from the service. This will take the form of managed care with a catastrophic policy. For those high-risk people, special blocks of federal money would go to the states. The emphasis is on shopping around – consider your deductible, out of pocket expense, and the rating of the doctor."
Dr. Tom Price's bill will gain a lot of momentum because it empowers individuals, and he will have some influence when he becomes the next HHS secretary. His bill, H.R. 2300, includes high-risk pools to help those with pre-existing conditions find a more affordable way to get coverage initially and into the insurance market. It applies the same rules that already exist in the large group (or employer) market that provide protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Additionally, if someone is entering the market for the first time, that person can establish "creditable coverage" by maintaining coverage for at least 18 months. Someone's pre-existing condition would not be an issue as far as premiums are concerned, and H.R. 2300 would place restrictions on how much insurers can charge.
What Americans will need is a lot of patience and a short memory. People should remember what has happened to their health care since Obamacare. Hopefully, Republicans will institute a plan that will benefit the average American instead of insurance companies, government regulators, bureaucrats, and lobbyists.
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.