As I write this, the House is pushing for a floor vote on the American Health Care Act. It “hangs in the balance” as some mainstream media news outlets are saying, but that doesn’t really paint the picture properly. In reality, it hangs over the GOP’s head in two major ways.
If it passes, things get really interesting in the Senate. There, the GOP cannot afford more than a couple of internal detractors and in the current form, there are more than enough. We haven’t seen the final version, but unless major changes were made, it’s very possible it could pass the House and get shot down in the Senate.
If it doesn’t pass the House, the spotlight is on the Freedom Caucus. President Trump has allegedly threatened Congressman Mark Meadows and others with losing their seats in 2018 if they don’t vote for it. Just as in the Senate, it would take major revisions for most Freedom Caucus members to reverse their publicly stated stance that they will vote against it.
This bill in its current known form is not what conservative/Federalist voters have asked for, nor is it what they were promised. I’ve gone on record as calling it Obamacarelite, RINOcare, Ryancare, and Swampcare. Based upon the latest push by the President, I’m calling it Trumpcare. He didn’t write it, but he’s pushing for it hard. President Obama didn’t write the Affordable Care Act, but he pushed for it just as hard as Trump is pushing for the AHCA.
Here’s the thing. People weren’t dying on the streets before Obamacare. I’m not so naive as to think we can or even should go back to the previous system. In fact, I think the previous system was already too burdened by government regulations. As conservatives who believe in the free market economy, we recognize that the best way to make health care truly affordable for the masses is to get government out of the picture. They need to open it up to competition across state lines.
Some will point out that tens of millions of Americans will “lose” their health care if we don’t pass something. They’d be technically right. However, a large bulk of those “losing” their health care coverage will do so willingly, as should be their right. There are conservatives who point out that it’s not fair for people to not carry health insurance and rely on taxpayers to pay big for their emergency care when they need it, but that’s singular and very shortsighted. The cost to taxpayers to cover uninsured emergency procedures is infinitesimally small compared to the cost we pay for ACA or the cost we would pay if AHCA passes.
What about pre-existing conditions? I have some experience with that, though I won’t bore you with the details. I’ll tell you this: government should be the last line of defense only. With both ACA and AHCA, they are inserting themselves into the front lines for health care. The community, charities, family, friends, and organizations designed specifically for such things will help those who cannot get their health needs met due to not being able to get covered. In a world with GoFundMe, it’s very unlikely that anyone who needs something won’t be able to get it. For those who do, that’s when the government as the bottom safety net can come in and save the day. This level of engagement should be very rare. If there’s minimal involvement by government to simply keep people from falling all the way through the cracks once they’ve failed to receive enough help through all the other options, that’s still a fraction of the cost to taxpayers.
The net result of full repeal would be to allow the consumer-driven market to push competition and make insurance companies beholden to the people. It amuses me when people say, “But repeal will only make the health insurance executives richer!” As Trump would say… “Wrong!” They love having millions of Americans who would never willingly purchase health insurance being forced to buy it by their government overlords.
Get government out of health insurance and premiums will go down for a vast majority of Americans. Allow the free market economy and the crowdfunding power of 2017 (plus charities, family, and community) to help those who need it the most. Government’s only role should be as the absolute last resort. Just repeal it.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.