Since the introduction of the GOP House’s Obamacare replacement, the American Health Care Act, I’ve read and listened to dozens (perhaps hundreds) of arguments for and against it by conservatives on television and across the internet. I even listened to a couple of liberal arguments before realizing their complaints were solely based on the government not interfering as much as they’d like.
It’s confusing. I’m not an expert in anything, but I trudge laboriously through the materials available to us all and come to my conclusions by trying to break things down to their foundation, their simplest form. This isn’t hard to do, particularly when listening to politicians trying to sell something. When they avoid a question by dancing around nuances and redirecting towards something positive, you know you’ve reached a potential flaw in their perspective. The same is basically true for pundits, analysts, and spokespeople, but it’s the politicians themselves who offer the greatest insights with their oratory two-step routines.
Once I find a weak spot in the arguments for a proposal, I cross-reference the subject with those opposed to it. If their arguments are clear, straightforward, and informed, I know I’ve found a foundation upon which the arguments either rest or crumble. For the AHCA, that particular foundation is increased government spending.
When you listen to those supporting the bill, they start to sidestep it by mentioning “positives” about the way the budget is handled. For example, they will point out that premium subsidies will be attributed to age rather than income. They’ll say that this is a smarter way of handling it and eliminates the socialistic aspect of Obamacare. Technically, they’re correct. Unfortunately, this means that it doesn’t eliminate the redistribution of funds. Instead, it changes the formula for redistribution to focus on age first. Since the tax credits have minimum caps to be received in full – $150,000 per household or $75,000 for individuals – we’re still looking at a shift of wealth from top to middle and bottom. It’s still socialized funding for the programs, a pig with lipstick.
The new plan also keeps essential health benefits and the pre-existing conditions policy. These are heartstring issues that sound so good on paper but ignore the tremendous cost increases they perpetuate. When insurance companies are forced to accept these notions, everyone’s costs rise. Before anyone tells me how heartless I am for wanting to kill these provisions, keep in mind that I’ve experienced the challenges of pre-existing conditions as roadblocks to healthcare. The medical assistance we received before Obamacare came through private organizations, community engagement, and good ol’ fashioned elbow grease.
When the private sector is given the opportunity to help Americans, it has demonstrated time and time again that it can handle the situation better than Washington DC. I firmly believe that the federal government should be the last line of defense and should not force insurance companies to cover my family’s ailments at the expense of increased costs to other Americans. If someone tries everything and still can’t get enough help, then the government (preferably the state of residence) should be able to offer the last bit of help necessary for the most needy to receive the health care they need. With both Obamacare and the AHCA, the government is the first line of defense. This is neither fiscally responsible nor is it necessary.
Were the insurance and health care industries broken before Obamacare? Yes. Did Obamacare make it worse? Yes. Will the AHCA make it better? Not at all. Why? Because it doesn’t address the fundamental problem with both the industries and the attempts by government to fix things.
Costs are skyrocketing. The government is spending more than it ever has and things are only getting worse. AHCA does not address this problem in a meaningful way. It carries too much of the same Obamacare baggage, replacing or renaming some of the financially worst aspects but not removing them at all. There are some good things in the bill such as defunding Planned Parenthood, but the good things about the bill do not do enough to reduce spending.
Lest we forget, the biggest problem with Obamacare from a conservative perspective is that it increased costs tremendously, both in the form of higher health care spending by individuals as well as an increased tax burden. It balloons entitlements, pushing debt higher and making our children pick up the tab in the near future. It hurt businesses, particularly medium-sized companies trying to survive in the over-regulated environment the welfare state has given us over the decades.
AHCA does not solve these problems. It doesn’t even make a dent. Why, then, are so many Republicans pushing it?
If the American Health Care Act is not designed to reduce government spending and won’t meaningfully reduce the financial burden placed on American citizens, what’s the point? We need to fully repeal Obamacare. Period. If there must be a replacement to appease… someone… then let it be one that removes the government completely from health care within a reasonable amount of time.Tags: health care Obamacare Politics