The recent delay of the employer mandate is a just another indication that the legislative behemoth that is Obamacare, is overly cumbersome, not well thought out, and simply the wrong approach to what ails our health care system. A recent Examiner editorial properly pointed out the archaic approach that Obamacare really is – a heavily bureaucratic system in a digital age that will be, and already is, slow on implementation and ineffective in delivery. Even Obama’s biggest supporters, the unions, are finding this out and they are not happy. Unions are worried that the law will push employers to reduce many workers hours to part time, which is happening, and simply drop coverage for others who will then be subsidized by the new exchanges. And speaking of exchanges, the announcement of the delay of the employer mandate will now potentially expand the enrollment of the exchanges, which will explode expected costs, and of course all of this will be done on the honor system, since no verification will be required, which is a potential for enormous fraud. Add to this, the possible immigration reform which will exempt the newly minted citizens from the mandate, and add millions of low skilled workers to an already over supplied market and you have a recipe for huge unemployment in a category of wage earners that are in desperate need of relief.
I think we can also agree that health care insurance is not actually health care. For that you need a doctor, and a recent report paints a grim picture on the future of that practice. Why on earth would we turn a very highly skilled practice into essentially a minimum wage job? Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates are low, and with the lack of any tort reform in the bill, malpractice insurance continues to put the squeeze on doctors resulting in many of them leaving, or planning on retiring early. And remember death panels? Well, we’ve already seen that, haven’t we? Amazingly, this little girl had to go to court to receive her transplant. Let’s add to this rising premiums – my premium rose by 20% in June and included in the letter informing me of this was the possibility of “future rate adjustments”. I guarantee you those adjustments wont be reductions. Obamacare is a train wreck, but the good news is, we can stop it before it kills all of us, and we should.
What’s the answer? In my opinion, a blend of private and public healthcare, with the public option being administered at the state level. Start by block granting Medicaid to the states and allowing them to administer care and payment disbursements, so the program is administered to a smaller number of people resulting in more effective and humane treatment, and doctors realize their pay in a shorter period of time. Secondly, set up a program for “pre existing” conditions and “catastrophic care” plans. People in these two categories represent a minority of patients, and with state programs funded by additional taxes to private plans and possibly other fee based programs, these programs can be funded. Additionally, we need to means test, reduce some benefits and raise the eligibility age. Higher income people (the evil rich) should either not be eligible, or receive limited benefits, and this goes for Social Security in my opinion as well, which will make more funds available for those who truly need it. On the private side, allow insurance companies to compete for everyone’s business in every state, and drop the coverage requirements. Why am I paying for psychiatric care when I don’t need it, or want it? (Of course some would argue that). Free enterprise and competition is an amazing mechanism and has an uncanny ability to find a need in the marketplace and fill it, which will happen and at lower costs.