I say to Trump and Congress — if you want to devise a system that provides health insurance to millions, not just the privileged few, why tear down everything? Amend the Affordable Care Act.
PRESIDENT Donald Trump, in discussing health-care policymaking, recently said: “I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”
As anyone in the health-care industry will tell you, this industry, which is roughly one-fifth of the American economy, is Byzantine and divided into many sectors. The entire industry is built on conflicts of interest and ethical challenges facing providers delivering health care.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would cost the country approximately $350 billion. By repealing, Congress would be taking taxpayers’ money, flushing it down the drain and perhaps killing health care for millions of Americans.
The ACA was passed in a perfect storm of politics. It has withstood numerous constitutional challenges all the way up to the Supreme Court. There is no doubt that the ACA is imperfect. However, if you built your dream home and spent millions doing so, and it turned out the carpet was not to your liking, you would not demolish the entire house. Some new carpeting would be a more logical, less expensive solution.
In the United States there are four distinct health-care populations. The majority of Americans get their health benefits from their employer. Secondly, Medicare covers the disabled and over 65 crowd. Thirdly, our lower-income citizens are covered by Medicaid. And there are the uninsured — roughly 40 million, of which 20 million now have insurance under the ACA.
The last group is really what the ACA was meant to address. The House Republicans’ newly released American Health Care Act addresses pre-existing conditions (insurers would be banned from denying coverage); essential health benefits; dependents still would be able to stay on parents’ insurance plan until age 26, and some of the other provisions that have benefited Americans. But so does the ACA, so why bother spending the money? Health-care policymaking should require common sense.
Trump is now finding out that his campaign promises on health care reforms cannot, and should not, be fulfilled.
So I say to Trump and Congress — if you want to devise a system that provides health insurance to millions, not just the privileged few, why tear down everything? Amend the ACA. Figure out how to handle the high-risk patients. Figure out how to use the digital age to deliver better and more affordable health care over state lines. Figure out how to use retail medicine in a better way. Figure out how to give tax breaks to employers for wellness programs.
We can fix Obamacare and uphold a basic civil right for everyone — their health.