After years staging pointless political stunts to “repeal” a law they knew they didn’t have the power to get rid of (costing taxpayers millions of dollars in the process), Republicans finally have their moment to do what they’ve been promising to do for years — “repeal and replace every single last word of Obamacare.”
There’s just one slight problem with that: It’s obvious they don’t have a clue on how to actually go about doing it.
If you hold them to their word (which you’d have to be a fool to do), “Obamacare” should have been repealed on January 20, 2017 – though as we all know, that didn’t happen. In fact, we’re several days into Obama’s successors administration and Republicans have yet to “repeal and replace” the law like they spent the last few years promising they were going to do.
It seems abundantly clear that most of the GOP is terrified to do exactly what it promised to do. They know instantly throwing millions of people off their health care plans wouldn’t go very well for their political interests.
Now what we’re seeing is a party that’s basically trying to tweak the law enough where they can claim it’s “their law,” while not screwing themselves over politically in the process.
Politics aside, there’s one really simple reason why Republicans don’t have a replacement for “Obamacare”: Because there’s no way to replace it with anything other than some form of universal health care.
The biggest sticking point among Republicans has always been the “individual mandate” requiring people to carry health insurance. Obviously, any “plan” Republicans eventually do pass is going to eliminate this provision. They’re still claiming they’re going to keep the parts of “Obamacare” pertaining to protecting people with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parent’s insurance until 26.
Except, you can’t keep protections for people with pre-existing conditions and get rid of the mandate. At least not without health care costs skyrocketing out of control.
Let’s be honest about what for-profit health insurance is. It’s an industry predicated on healthy people paying in more than they’ll receive to help cover some of the expenses of higher risk individuals who cost these companies much more money to treat. Which means if you eliminate the mandate, millions of healthy people will likely drop their insurance altogether, while higher-risk patients keep the insurance many of them desperately need.
That means premiums for everyone who decides to keep health insurance would increase dramatically as insurance companies faced the reality of a “smaller pool of payees” to “share the burden” of health care expenses. After all, that’s what all insurance is, people paying into a giant pool to “share the burden” for whatever type of insurance they’re paying into.
Meanwhile, because many folks would drop health insurance altogether after the mandate was eliminated, we would see a spike in people using the ER as a “doctor.” Then when they’re unable to cover the out-of-pocket costs of their ER visit, those costs would be passed on to — you guessed it — everyone who is paying for health insurance.
You cannot have a health care system where everyone, regardless of medical health, is treated equally unless everyone is made to carry health insurance. And not just carry some worthless “health insurance” plan that doesn’t really cover anything, but rather a plan that actually provides protection against catastrophic medical emergencies.
And don’t even give me this nonsense about “we’re giving more power to the states.” We already saw how one state went about providing health care to its citizens in Massachusetts — it’s called “Romneycare.” You know, practically the exact same law as “Obamacare.”
There’s absolutely no way to lower this nation’s health care costs as long as we’re completely reliant on a for-profit system — none. That’s the reason why practically every industrialized nation on Earth provides some form of universal health care to cover its citizens.
You cannot tell people “health insurance is optional,” then tell for-profit companies they’re legally required to treat everyone equally, regardless of their health. All that’s going to do is drastically increase premiums for everyone who does pay for health coverage.
The real “secret” to all of this, something that no Republican will admit, is the fact that all of these arguments about premium hikes linked to the ACA, or the outrageous costs of health care in this country, are all fantastic arguments for why we need universal health care.
We’re never going to lower medical costs in this country as long as we’re dependent upon for-profit companies that are always trying to “increase revenue.”
It’s never going to happen.
Right now our health care system is based upon for-profit hospitals trying to game for-profit health insurance companies. The hospitals do their best to get as much out of the insurance companies as they can, while the insurance companies are doing their best to pay out as little as they can. Though the goal for both is exactly the same: Make as much money as we can.
And stuck in the middle of this bloodsport of greed are the lives of human beings.
Right now human beings are both revenue streams and expenses. And with any for-profit company, the main priority is to increase revenues while eliminating expenses. That often means screwing over their customers any chance they get.
Which means the ACA can be tweaked, eliminated, “fixed” — whatever Republicans want to do to it — but it’s not going to change a damn thing. Costs are going to continue to go up because the law isn’t the problem, our whole damn for-profit health care system is.
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