Repeal and Replace, or let the People Choose?
By Jim Boyer
There are a lot of questions surrounding the health care issue.
- Will the new plan include preexisting conditions?
- Will my grown children who can’t support themselves be covered on my insurance?
- Can I float along paying a simple fine until I need medical care?
All of these are valid issues in the minds of people who have been led to believe that their health care is the government’s responsibility. However a more necessary thing to consider might be; “Why are we ignoring free market solutions?”
The answer probably lies somewhere between lobbyist efforts on behalf of major insurers and political pandering by politicians for the purpose of buying votes. But, in reality and in the long run if citizens don’t rise up and demand to be free from the government meddling with our lives and choices, we will be hearing this debate again in a few years.
The same politicians who have refused to take a logical course of management regarding our southern border or the oppressive IRS because of their allure as campaign issues are once again on the brink of controlling both our finances and personal choices.
The failure of Obamacare that we were saddled with couldn’t give us an affordable solution because the democrats that wrote and passed it were neither concerned with health nor with care. Uninformed voters supported the idea by believing they were getting free insurance. That was a lie to begin with, but the deception hidden in the conversation was that insurance is not care. What the people who needed it the most got was a package with high premiums and high deductibles that resulted in most paying out of pocket for their family’s medical needs.
At almost every income level people would be better off paying cash for simple services like shots and physicals, flu or a broken arm. In such a market environment doctors or clinics naturally become competitive in seeking that business. In a competitive market the consumer always wins.
As is shown in the fields of cosmetic surgery, cosmetic dentistry, laser vision correction and veterinary services, prices are highly competitive and the consumers win. This is both due to competition for business and the fact that these services are not served by insurance companies that are free to bill the government as much as they wish.
Think of a person in good health who doesn’t smoke or drink to excess and exercises regularly. If he chooses to shop for catastrophic insurance, providers would have a competitive approach to wanting his business because the chance of him costing them money is lessened by his lifestyle. Or, maybe he would choose to not even buy catastrophic coverage. That should also be up to him just as it is to not carry flood insurance if he lives on a hilltop. This is the way it used to be in our country. It was a time when doctors even made house calls.
Around the 1930s technology was improving and advancements in surgical remedies created higher costs for services that hadn’t existed a few years prior. With this evolution came the first insurance pools created to allow people to get prepaid services for hospitalization they could otherwise not afford.
After WWII the economy was turbulent and to avoid hyperinflation government was demanding wage and price controls that led to threats of major union strikes that would have been devastating. The government response was to allow employers to provide tax exempt insurance for workers. This essentially gave workers a raise while keeping wages down for a time. Insurers competed for employer business and in turn, employers used attractive benefits to lure workers.
By the 60s most employers provided some sort of group insurance plans, but things were not as stable as they once were because workers were becoming mobile, seeking new careers and relocating more than they traditionally had done. By the 80s changes in economics began tearing the markets apart. Insurers naturally wanted the lowest risk customers and subsequently raised premiums to stay profitable. As premiums grew, smaller employers dropped their plans.
Again, the government tried to step in and regulate a market they didn’t understand. They made laws forcing business with a certain number of employees to buy group plans. However as plans grew more expensive, young and healthy employees decided not to participate. Thus, the risk pool became sicker and the process continued to deteriorate.
By the 2000s things were in turmoil and people were shopping any and all alternatives while politicians campaigned by making promises they couldn’t keep. And here we are; faced with a rotten plan created by the democrat party, designed mainly to put the government in control while commandeering 20% of the American economy.
The result is that in responding to his promise to repeal Obamacare, President Trump is pushing congress to give him (and us) a plan that can benefit citizens at all levels of income. So far, things aren’t working out and a unified attempt to put the citizenry first has not emerged – but it is still early.
So, here we are mulling through a version of what many people are calling Obamacare-lite; a plan that seems destined to failure because of the government need to stay in control of choices we should be making on our own.
It is proven that an open market breeds innovation and competition and the winners are visionary entrepreneurs and the people they serve.
There are 29 members of the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives, including my congressman Raul Labrador, and our future is in their hands. If they do not stand on their principles and block the continuation of this attempt to take away more of our liberty, they are not deserving of the title they have chosen for themselves.
I hope people are contacting them and I hope they are listening