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Obamacare’s Unhappy Anniversary
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Last month marked nine years since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (popularly known as Obamacare) became law. Obamacare’s proponents promised that the law would reduce costs, expand access, and allow us to keep our doctors if we liked our doctors. The reality has been quite different.

Since Obamacare was enacted, individual health insurance premiums have more than doubled while small businesses have been discouraged from providing health insurance benefits. The increased costs of, and decreased access to, health care are a direct result of Obamacare’s mandates — particularly the guaranteed issue and pre-existing condition mandates. Another costly mandate forces most plans to cover “essential health benefits.” This mandate is why postmenopausal women must pay for contraceptive coverage.

The increase in health insurance premiums has not helped those who like their doctors keep their doctors. Instead, patients’ choices of providers are restricted to ever-narrower networks. As leading health care scholar John C. Goodman observed, the result is that a cancer patient from my hometown of Lake Jackson, Texas who obtains insurance through Obamacare’s exchanges cannot get treatment at nearby MD Anderson, one of the country’s top cancer treatment centers. If health care were a true free market, insurance companies would compete for the business of cancer patients and others with chronic conditions by developing innovative ways to give them the best care at an affordable price.

Sadly, few in Congress support free-market health care. The Democrats are divided between progressives who want to repeal and replace Obamacare with “Medicare for all,” the latest euphemism for single-payer healthcare, and establishment Democrats who want to save Obamacare by spending more money on subsidies for individuals and insurance companies.

President Trump has made some regulatory changes that make it easier for individuals to find affordable insurance. He has also recently called on Republicans to renew efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Most Republicans reacted to the president’s call the way Dracula reacts to a crucifix. These Republicans are terrified of the issue because they believe their half-hearted attempts to enact phony repeal bills cost them control of the House of Representatives in 2018.

President Trump himself does not actually want to repeal all of Obamacare. He just wants to repeal the “unpopular” parts. However, because the popular parts include many of Obamacare’s most destructive mandates, even if President Trump gets his way, Americans will continue to suffer with low-qualify, high-cost health care.

Any system combing subsidies that artificially increase demand with regulations and mandates that, by raising costs, artificially limit supply inevitably results in shortages, rationing, and lower quality. Therefore, no matter how much Democrats spend or how many “reforms” Republicans enact, Obamacare and other types of government-controlled health care will never “work.”

Instead of ignoring the issue, trying to prop up Obamacare, or implementing a single-payer plan, Congress should restore individuals’ control over health care dollars by expanding health care tax deductions and credits, as well as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Expanded charitable deductions could help ensure those who need assistance can obtain privately-funded charitable care instead of relying on inefficient government programs. Before Medicaid and Medicare, doctors routinely provided charitable care, while churches and private charities ran hospitals that served the poor. Individuals are more than capable of meeting their health care needs, and providing for the needs of the less fortunate, if the government gets out of the way.

(Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Obamacare 
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  1. Giuseppe says:

    The immediate impact of Obamacare was I was no longer able to provide medical insurance for the employees in my small business, something I had done for more than 30 years.

    When Obamacare went into effect, my doctor retired early from medical practice. And he wasn’t alone. Over the years, fewer and fewer plans medical plans were available, and medical groups aligned with one plan or another, not accepting some plans. So much if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.

    Over the years, the premiums have gone up and up and up. In 2019, premiums alone for my wife and I are $2000 per month and $24,000 per year. Finally, we said enough is enough. Now we have no health insurance, isn’t that a wonderful outcome of the Democrats’ strategy, “we have to pass it to know what’s in it.” So much for the affordable part of the Affordable Health Care Act.

    The one thing Trump did was remove the IRS penalty for not signing up for this medical-styled extortion.

    It is outrageous that the RINO party did nothing about fixing this when they were in control, despite bitching about it for years. May the name of that disgraced dirty dog John McCain live forever in infamy, fake patriot, fake conservative, war monger par excellence.

    • Replies: @Oleaginous Outrager
  2. @Giuseppe

    I’m sure you’re aware everything said in support of Obamacare was a lie and the entire fiction was strictly in aid of forcing everyone to accept single payer because all the other options were dead.

  3. America’s future is brown and progressive.
    I am happy with that. A single payer healthcare is the solution.
    Bigots will never withstand the tide of color.
    White nationalism is a disease that should be and will be eradicated.
    Immigration is a blessing and we should welcome people from all parts of the world. We were and will always be a Melting Pot.
    World evolves and so should America and it’s demographics.
    Immigration and miscegenation helps in avoiding inbreeding and strengthening of the character of this nation.
    White majority communities in West Virginia and Midwest are dying anyway.
    America’s future and your grandchildren will be Brown. Embrace it.

  4. As an OB doctor (any doctor for that matter), Ron Paul would be more aware of the stupidity of the continuously-increasing involvement of the Feral Government into this important part of the economy than the rest of the politicians and pundits. It’s not the scientific changes I’m talking about, as the market has allowed so many advances in treatment happen over the last 5 decades, it’s amazing. On the business side, the change from house calls and $300 total for hospital birth costs (now ~ $12,000 on a good day!) to today’s impersonal bureaucratic quagmire has been abysmal.

    What Dr. Paul may not be aware of is the fairly free-market health-care system existing in present-day China. Peak Stupidity has 4 posts from personal experience with the healthcare system in China – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and a Postscript.

  5. Anon[542] • Disclaimer says:

    OK, it seemed stupid 9 years ago that you should “keep your doctor”, as if you, the patient, lacking even minimal data, would be able to pick the best doctor, out of masses of thousands of indistinct mafiosi. But now? Who still wants to “keep their doctors” for over 9 years? That is longer than the average US marriage. Also, science has progressed, standardized exams have improved, and today’s graduates don’t whine if they have to document their work on EHR.

    But the idea that the churches were helping sick people more than the state could do is more ridiculous. Why not ask churches to run airlines, build roads, raise armies, perhaps land on the Moon? Oh, “they can’t do that” – but they are good at helping sick people, on the condition that rules are rolled back to their 2010 version. I see.

    I am not surprised the author doesn’t bother with a statement on his COI.

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