Someone Has to Pay for Health Care.
A few months ago—I was traveling at the time—I needed to have something checked out and, instead of enjoying the Napa Valley Wine Train, I spent five hours in a hospital Emergency Room. They did an EKG, a CAT-Scan, took X-Rays, did some blood work and eventually I was pronounced good to go. The hospital bill arrived a couple of weeks ago. It was more than $13,000.
I thought about this today because the Republicans in Congress have just unveiled their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. I confess I am still unclear as to their specific objections to Obamacare—except, of course, that it came from Obama—but one of the objectives of the new GOP plan is clearly to reduce the cost to the federal government.
The problem is, they can diddle with the system all they want, but when it comes to health care, somebody has to pay.
In this country, when poor people and folks with no insurance get sick or hurt, they go to a hospital’s emergency room. And it doesn’t matter if it’s an old guy with a stroke or a little kid with a simple sore throat, they all get treated.
But who pays for the doctor’s time and for the X-Rays and for the medication they take with them when they’re released?
You and I do.
I paid for some of those people when the hospital billed me $13,000 for an examination and some routine tests. And you, too, will pay for the uninsured if and when you have to go to the hospital. We’re overcharged for one simple reason: we have health insurance and they don’t.
Here’s the nub of the problem: in order to pay for those inflated costs and still make a profit, the insurance companies constantly increase the premiums on my health insurance. And on yours.
There is one—and only one—obvious solution: Expand Medicare to cover everyone. Of course, that idea will never get past Trump and the Republican Congress because it goes against their political philosophy. Ponder that for a few minutes.
Walt Kelly’s cartoon character Pogo said it best.
I wish it were that simple. But when the single-payer runs out of money, as Illinois, Greece, and Venezuela are, it’s the poorest people that suffer. And when the authority attempts to bend the cost curve by imposing lower reimbursement rates, as Medicare and Medicaid do, practitioners drop out and the poorer people suffer.
Keeping railroad transportation cheaper by stipulating lower rates, regulated in the public interest, didn’t turn out so well for passengers or for the carriers, did it?
I certainly agree there is no simple or easy or inexpensive answer. But many other countries seem to be doing a better job of it than we are. And almost everyone agrees that what is being proposed as a replacement for the ACA is a shameless fraud.
I couldn’t agree more.
What I’m mostly curious about is the GOP strategy with their, what Senator Rand Paul called “Obamacare Lite,” health care plan. It really is a version of Obamacare (which I’m glad we have, but I can’t deny the fact that it needs improvement), but even worse.
It’s going to anger the Democrats because it makes Obamacare worse. It’s going to anger the tea party people because it still does too much. It’s going to anger Trump’s base because it’s not a full repeal. Basically it ticks off EVERYONE.
Paul Ryan and Co. aren’t stupid and if I can figure this out, so can they. My theory is that they know they’re in a no-win situation. If they do what’s good for the people (my opinion is the same as yours: a single payer system), it’ll be political suicide for them. If they do what their constituency wants, it’ll still be political suicide because of the havok that will flood the health care system. If they do nothing, their constituency will still be furious that Obamacare still hasn’t been repealed.
So Paul Ryan and Co. have come up with the following solution: pretend to do something with the full knowledge that it’ll never work. That way, Obamacare stays in place so there’s no additional havok to the healthcare system. They still have their “villain,” ie Obamacare so they can rally their constituency. Yet they “tried” their best to get rid of Obamacare, but it was those “annoying libtards” in Congress than stopped them.
This way, everyone is “happy” – Obamacare supporters keep their Obamacare. Obamacare haters still have their rallying cry and villain to hate on.
“This aint’ checkers, this is chess.”
That’s diabolical . . . which means, I guess, it could very well be true!
I am glad that I as a California native and resident to know that my home state is actively looking into ways to put into place a plan very similar to Obamacare. Even Los Angeles county is even looking for ways to help those when the republican health care disaster hits.
Yes, and good for you guys! I must also note that my state, Hawaii, has had a law on the books since the 1970s that requires business owners to include health insurance as a benefit for their employees. Guess what: It works … and it’s one of the main reasons that Hawaii has been ranked as the healthiest of all 50 states for several years in a row.