by David Ramsey
What was the point of Obamacare? The whole point of it was to get affordable, quality health care access for everyone. The President said in his speech in 2009 that there were over 30 million Americans without insurance, and that’s a bad thing. We need to get those people insurance. The Congressional Budget Office said that after Obamacare there are going to be 31 million Americans without insurance. In some ways this has been nothing but a churn operation designed to grow the power of the federal government, take more money away from taxpayers, and line the pockets of insurance companies and take more power and control over your lives away from you as families or employees or small businessmen or small businesswomen, and that may be the most disappointing thing of all.
Obamacare actually has a pretty severe impact on jobs. The Congressional budget office in another report has said Obamacare will probably cost up to 2.5 million full time equivalent jobs by 2025, over the next ten years. That’s a lot of jobs, especially when you just barely have gotten back to the number full time equivalent jobs in our economy today as we had before the financial collapse. ...
You...have the phenomenon of people essentially being paid not to work. The Congressional Budget Office has said that as well, that they’re going to be choosing not to work and that’s not good for our economy. It’s not good for our country. It’s not good for people who are working that they’re going to have to be pulling the load for people who just choose not to work all day.
We have to be measured in our expectations about what we can accomplish in terms of repealing Obamacare as long as the man in the White House is named Barack Obama. It’s his namesake legislation, after all. That may have to wait until 2017. I think it’s going to have to occur because the law is so fundamentally flawed.
So, you’ve heard me say that I want to replace and repeal Obamacare because we had a real problem that led to the political coalition behind Obamacare. The Republicans would never propose a law like Obamacare. The bill is 2800 pages long. It tries to manage one sixth of our economy from Washington D.C. Rather, what we would do is propose targeted solutions to specific problems in our health care system. So, we’ve already talked about one of them: the lack of access to insurance for people with preexisting conditions, or maybe they lose their insurance, they can’t afford very high COBRA premiums, and then they become uninsured with preexisting conditions. We can provide for preexisting condition risk pools at the state level. The federal government can help with those. We can have a guaranteed renewal provision, like you all have in your employer plans.
So, once you’re in those pools the insurance companies who are providing you that insurance have to renew your plan as long as you continue to pay on time, and guarantee portability, which means you can move from this pool to a employer based plan or into a government based plan, like a Medicare or a Tricare or something along those lines. And then you also have the high cost of health insurance for all of us. I mean, even if you don’t have a preexisting condition health insurance is still pretty expensive. I mean, it’s continuing to increase year after year. Those are accelerating unfortunately, under Obamacare.
Well, how can we address those? I think there the best thing to do is introduce more competition into the marketplace. You know, a lot of you probably have a smartphone in your pocket, an android or an iphone or a blackberry. You know, 25 years ago was the size of a brick and you had to carry it around in what looked like a satchel; and now look at how far we’ve come in 25 years. That’s largely because cellphones and their manufacturers isn’t tightly regulated and overseen by the government. You know, if it was we’d still all be carrying bricks for cellphones. Actually, we wouldn’t be carrying them around because it would only be a luxury good item that the ultra rich could afford. But because you’ve had market forces competing to appeal to the consumers for their dollars, you’ve had innovations. Things that 25 years ago not only did they not have, but you couldn’t conceive. Who would have thought 25 years ago that what looked like a big brick would become essentially a super computer in the palm of your hand.
So, if you introduce those kinds of competitive forces into health insurance you’ll see the same kind of innovation, the same kind of reduction in prices, the same kind of improvement in quality that you see in so many other markets. And what are some simple examples of those? Allowing people to offer insurance across state lines in the health insurance markets the same way you can in home insurance or car insurance markets. Giving individuals the same kind of tax preferences for health insurance as companies get when they buy insurance for their employees.
Or letting small companies pool together so they have the same purchasing power as a big company, since they, you know, have thousands or tens of thousands of employees. You know, in promoting transparency in pricing. So, you know as consumers of healthcare what an MRI costs in one place as opposed to another place because for the exact same procedure and the exact same equipment and the exact same care you might be charged three or four or five times because the costs are at a hospital or clinic.
Those are relatively simple, targeted reforms that don’t try to take over our economy, that don’t have these massive secondary consequences, but I think would introduce market forces that would trust you as individuals and families and trust doctors to make the right decisions about your own care.