Bury Obamacare

by JUSTIN O. SMITH March 27, 2017

Americans cannot gain affordable healthcare through the U.S. government and laws like the disastrous Obamacare or the Ryancare fiasco. They must look towards private sectors, free market based solutions and patient controlled healthcare plans that move Americans far away from an unsustainable, terribly inefficient and rapidly approaching government controlled single payer system. And Congressmen and Senators and any U.S. President, current or future, must remove all roadblocks to this course, if, as many profess, affordable healthcare for Americans is truly their goal.

America didn't have $2.6 trillion when Obamacare passed, and it doesn't have the $2.3 trillion that Ryancare demanded. It is immoral and bad leadership to put such a debt on the backs of American taxpayers, since most of the money goes to the bureaucracy, does not provide timely or even good healthcare and too often never makes it to the patients in need. Overspending, in such a manner, for a healthcare insurance program that does not deliver real care is not a solution.

Initially in 2010, Republicans promised to repeal Obamacare, but gradually their promise evolved to "repeal and replace". Forget replacing Obamacare. Congress must repeal Obamacare completely. Bury Obamacare.

With health insurance deductibles averaging approximately $7000, 6.5 million Americans decided to pay the penalty last year. Millions of other Americans pay premiums but don't go to the doctor due to high deductibles; and now millions more of Americans will soon be left without any insurance, because the Obamacare exchanges are imploding as insurance companies abandon them.

Ryancare [American Health Care Act] didn't offer much improvement over Obamacare, so it was fortunate that it failed to gain complete Republican support, which forced its withdrawal on March 24th, after five hours of discussion. The AHCA replaced the individual mandate and tax penalty with a thirty percent insurance premium surcharge for anyone buying insurance after a lapse in coverage. The AHCA simply placed Obamacare's unreasonable and odious Cadillac Tax on hold until 2025. It also offered another form of income redistribution called "tax credits". And in the end, Ryancare achieved no improvement in access to health care for Americans.

But government provided health insurance is not a right. Under Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, there isn't any federal power or duty to ensure "universal health care coverage".

However, as a start, let the free market fill the void and work for all. Advocate for the removal of cost prohibitive federal and state insurance regulatory mandates and all impediments to purchase health insurance across state lines. This will create competition, that will drive the cost of insurance and healthcare down and improve the quality of services, benefitting all and opening doors for any American who wants real Health Care.

Privately insured Americans must also end their practice of filing health insurance claims for every little sniffle they experience. When the majority of Americans use their health insurance to pay for only real medical necessities and emergencies, lowering the cost to companies, health insurance will become more affordable for all Americans.

And, since ninety percent of Americans spend less than $5000 on healthcare annually, people should comparative shop for health insurance and healthcare plans just like they would for a car. Self-paying patients are regularly charged 25 to 90 percent less than insured patients, so always ask any provider for the lowest possible price for someone un-insured.

Another option is Direct Primary Care (DPC). Under this model, a patient pays a fixed monthly amount, often as little as $50, and receives a high level of access to their regular doctor. They receive diagnostic testing and preventative and minor emergency procedures. The DPC model also arranges for other services that have been deeply discounted and pre-negotiated, like an MRI for $400. The DPC is quality health care for the average American that even provides specialists at a fraction of the cost of an insurance model.

Our government, however benevolent it may seem, is incapable of identifying who should qualify for free medical services, even if that was a proper government role. Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid reveals the veracity of this assertion.

According to the original 1965 law, Medicaid was designed to be a state administered program for those "unable to support ... their medical needs". But Obamacare now allows able-bodied poor and young Americans to utilize this program, even though it is currently very near bankrupt. The quality and availability of the healthcare received through its networks is also inferior.

Those Americans opposed to repealing Obamacare often ask, "What will happen to people with pre-existing illnesses?"

Anyone with pre-existing conditions could not be denied medical treatment under U.S. law prior to Obamacare, and many received care through "high risk pools" available in 35 states. If they cannot afford non-group health insurance, they will still not be denied medical attention after Obamacare is repealed, which leaves them to pay a medical bill or seek charity.

Americans will receive care one way or another; no one person should lose sleep over this. Americans turn themselves inside out to help each other. Hope Clinic [Murfreesboro,TN], and Vanderbilt's Children's Hospital and St. Jude's Children's Hospital bear testament to this, among many others.

When did Americans become so dependent on Uncle Sam? Can we no longer act independently for ourselves -- take care of ourselves?

Top of the line affordable health care is within the reach of all Americans, but if we are to take hold of it, we must quit paying any price insurance companies demand for premiums and doctors and hospitals demand for services, negotiating cheaper health care prices across the board. We must use our uninhibited creative energy to ensure timely access to quality care programs, as we also remove government obstacles to innovation from our health care system. And through free market initiatives healthcare costs will dramatically drop, efficiency within the system will increase and a new surplus of funds will provide care for our needy.

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Justin O. Smith has lived in Tennessee off and on most of his adult life. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1980, with a B.S. and a double major in International Relations and Cultural Geography - minors in Military Science and English, for what its worth. His real education started from that point on.  Smith worked 8 years for the LaVergne Fire Dept - two years as their clean-up boy - and became a working fireman at age 16, working his way through college and subsequently joining the U.S. Army. Since then he primarily has contracted construction and traveled - spending quite a bit of time up and down the Columbia River Gorge, in the Puget Sound on Whidby Island and down around Ft. Lauderdale and South Beach. Justin currently writes a weekly column for The Rutherford Reader in Murfreesboro, TN, which he calls home, and he spends as much time as possible with his two beautiful and intelligent daughters and five grandchildren. He also Loves God, Family and Our Magestic and Wonderful America, and considers himself to be a Son of Liberty.


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