Make Our Health Care Great Again
Remember when America had the best health care in the world? Back when people crossed oceans to see our doctors, to be treated in our hospitals?
A few years back, I had an eye-opening conversation with a British woman in a hospital waiting room. This woman flew to the U.S. from England at personal expense to get a mammogram. Her mother and sister had breast cancer, and now she'd found a lump. In Britain, a screening ultrasound didn't show cancer, so there was no justification for the more expensive mammogram. They told her they'd follow up with another ultrasound in a few weeks.
This lady knew that with her family history, she needed a mammogram to confirm the diagnosis, but with government health care, there is no second opinion, no appealing your case, no working outside the system – just one authority: the government, aka single-payer.
So this woman flew to America to seek the same medical options Americans have any day of the week, or at least had. Some say we still have the best health care, but the fact is, our health care is circling the drain – doctors leaving, insurance companies pulling out, skyrocketing premiums, and impossible deductibles.
In short, Obamacare's imploding, but then, that was the goal, wasn't it? To leave people without coverage, to make them desperate for a solution so they'd demand action from their government? Then the government would ride to the rescue with single-payer, Medicare for all. Yay! Medicare, where people can go to any doctor anywhere in the U.S. and the government picks up the tab. Tests, hospital costs all paid in full by Uncle Sam.
Or so it appears. In reality, the people pay. The government deducts a Medicare payroll tax of 2.9% – 1.45% from the employee, 1.45% from their employer, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars over the years. It's a good chunk of change, and that's just principal. If that money had been put into health savings accounts instead of government coffers, you'd add thousands more in interest. You could use that money for outpatient medical expenses that would otherwise be covered under Medicare Part B. As a bonus, it would be your money, not the government's.
But hey, it's still worth it, right? It's okay that you prepaid tens of thousands and gave up the interest because now that you're covered, the government will take care of you from retirement to grave and you're paid up.
Not so much – those taxes were the down payment. You still have to pay Medicare premiums, a couple of hundred a month on average. Then there's a 20% deductible, so you'll need Medicare gap insurance (supplement) for another couple of hundred or more – possibly much more. Oh, and drugs aren't covered under Part B, so you'll need a separate prescription plan. And you could have penalties, like the late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part B, a 10% premium surcharge for every 12-month delay past age 65. And that surcharge is for life, baby, so you'd better get it right.
But why am I going on about government health care? Congress is repealing Obamacare, right? Well, no: it's just more kabuki theater. Congress has no intention of actually repealing Obamacare. Never did.
I knew we were in trouble in 2010 when my Republican representative talked about "keeping the good parts" of Obamacare. What an idiotic statement! That's like keeping the "good parts" of a stage 4 malignant tumor. Takes only one missed cell to metastasize and kill you. And why was this imbecile talking about keeping parts of a bill the American people never wanted, a bill passed in the face of overwhelming opposition from voters?
The truth is, "keep" is Washington code for clinging to the power to control one sixth of the economy, to impose taxes and penalties, to increase their "never enough" treasury funds, and to wield the unparalleled power of life and death over the American people. Even Republicans covet this newfound power. No, they didn't do the deed, didn't create and pass Obamacare, but by God, that doesn't mean they have to give up the golden goose.
President Reagan warned us:
One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It's very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can't afford it.
Enter politicians who warn that they can't repeal Obamacare because millions might lose their policies. Of course, millions had their plans canceled when Obamacare was implemented. But no worries: those people could get a new policy through Obamacare.
Okay, so those who lose their policies with a full repeal can also get new policies, and if we have a free market and competition, those policies will cost less than the unsustainable premiums under Obamacare. But then, lost policies are just another talking point for politicians who fight to "keep" Obamacare. Note that they're never looking for ways to repeal and make it work – just citing the dangerous consequences of a repeal.
The good news is, not all members of Congress are power-hungry despots. The House Freedom Caucus went to bat for the people, took on the leadership and the White House to deliver on their promise of a full repeal. They called out Paul Ryan's bill as a kickback to insurance lobbyists with a stability fund (bailout), a lapsed coverage surcharge of 30% (individual mandate), and essential benefits (mandated coverage). They exposed a bill that took care of donors and did nothing to bring down costs, did nothing for the people.
The Freedom Caucus now say they have a bill they can get behind, yet Obamacare is still breathing, still has a pulse. They need to stay vigilant and drive a stake through this bill's heart. The House, the Senate, all who want a free market need to fight like hell to delete Obamacare from the system and get government out of the health care business.
And if Congress can't fully repeal Obamacare, then gut it, kill the taxes, remove mandates, leave only slivers of flesh clinging to dried up bones. Because if Obamacare's not repealed or mangled beyond recognition, it will be back.
Then what will we do? Where can we turn when the system fails us? Unlike the British woman who flew here to save her life, we won't have an America to save us. No, if we get saddled with single-payer, we'll have to accept government standards as the last word, even if it costs us our lives; our parents' or spouses' lives; or, God forbid, our children's lives.
The only way to defeat Obamacare is to defeat those who want to "keep" the good parts, want to "keep" any part. Nothing we can do about Democrats – they're all in for the coup. But Republicans are political animals. Don't let them disappear in the crowd. Call them out. Name names. Run ads in their districts and states that show their constituents how their representative or senator lied to them, promised to repeal, but refused to act when given the chance. It may feel wrong to turn on fellow Republicans, but these people will defeat all of us if not stopped.
You're working hard, Mr. President, and accomplishing much. But health care's the most important legislation you'll pass. It's our best chance to undo the Obamacare disaster, to pry our freedom from government clutches. There's still time to rescue our health care, but the window is closing.
So please, Mr. President, get us back to the best health care in the world. Make our health care great again – as great as it was before.