Healthcare affects all Americans. There is no two ways about it. For eight years, the GOP ran on a platform to repeal and replace Obamacare. Once in power, however, they have not been able to find a way to do it.
Now, the GOP and Democrats are working together to save Obamacare. Although that is a potential solution, is it the right one? There is no question that Obamacare is failing and this problem cannot be ignored any longer. On August 1, 2017, Anthem announced it plans to pull out of almost the entire state of California except for some Northern California counties and the Central Valley. Additionally, premiums for those in the Obamacare exchanges will rise 12.5% this year after a 13% raise last year.
This cannot be sustained. In a large portion of the country, potential insureds have only one choice, if you can call it that, to buy insurance. Some states experienced 40% increases in the cost of insurance in the past few years. In fact, almost eight million Americans are choosing to pay the penalty to the IRS instead of buying insurance.
There is only one way to truly describe the current healthcare system: it is a Pyramid Scheme. And, we all know when a Pyramid Scheme collapses, a lot of people suffer.
The Democrats would like to say that Single Payer is the solution. I disagree. Single payer only works for those that need minimal care or those who are in dire need in the emergency room. For the rest of the populace, it would be an even bigger failure than Obamacare. Just look at poor Charley Gard in the United Kingdom for evidence that death panels do exist in systems with socialized medicine. He may have been savable under a private system like we have in the U.S. Single payer is Social Darwinism at its worst.
So, what is the answer?
I would like to try opening the insurance market on a nationwide basis. This will increase competition and have a stabilizing effect on premiums. Insurance exchanges may work as well. They also have the benefit of only insuring needs that individuals actually want. For example, under the Christian exchanges, abortion is not covered and not even an option. Premiums for a family of two with a decent deductible are approximately $500.00 per month. We should also explore increasing the deduction for health savings accounts. Perhaps providing a double deduction for every dollar put into an account up to a maximum of 10,000 per year would be worth exploring.
Regardless of what we do on healthcare, there are some items of Obamacare which must be changed or removed. These are the individual mandate and the tax on medical equipment. Additionally, the corporate mandate should be changed to companies employing 500 people with no insurance required for any employee working up to 35 hours per week.
Lastly, any healthcare solution must include pre-existing conditions and the coverage of students on their parents’ policy up until the age of 26. However, if a child is in the workforce or covered under a policy with his place of higher education, he no longer qualifies to be on his parents’ policy once he attains the age of 22.
These are some ideas. They require further thinking and this position paper will be updated in the future.