After spending the past seven years pledging to repeal and replace “Obamacare,” Republican representatives gave their first go at it this week. It didn’t go so well.
House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, has championed the bill and spent the past few days trying to rally support from those within his own party. The bill has faced criticism from even those within the GOP.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has criticized the bill for being too much like the Affordable Care Act, calling it “Obamacare Lite.” He introduced his own version of a health care reform bill a few days later. The White House objected to it being called “TrumpCare,” and is open to an earlier rollback of Medicaid than the bill proposes.
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On the other side of the aisle, Democrats remain firmly against the bill. Many see tax cuts for the rich hidden within it and are furious. Others, like New Jersey Democrat U.S. Sen. Cory Booker are worried about the millions who may lose coverage if it passes.
The scariest part of the bill is the repeal of the individual mandate. Insurance works by spreading out the risk. Health insurance therefore, must have high-risk and low-risk customers. Unfortunately, because health care is expensive, many healthy, young people do not purchase it. Therefore, health care becomes more expensive because companies are serving higher-risk clients who require more insurance.
“Obamacare” had a simple solution to this: Require people to buy health insurance or penalize them. It motivated healthier people to buy health insurance, therefore lowering the overall cost.
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“Obamacare Lite” cut this out, and now we can expect health care costs to skyrocket. Combined with the Medicaid rollback, we could be staring down lower coverage and higher costs. Fantastic.
The sad part about this health care debacle is the answer should be quite simple: a single-payer system. Systems like these often become featured in other industrialized countries in the world. We can look just to our northern border to see an example of the plan working well in Canada.
For those who are unaware, a single-payer system means government, instead of private insurance companies we have here, insures the health care of all citizens.
The problem with our system it that it is multilayered. There are the doctors and hospitals on one level and then there are the insurance companies. Each level involved needs to make a profit. This raises costs, which are passed onto the consumer.
Unfortunately for Americans, we cannot just wave a magic wand and get rid of the insurance companies. They have powerful lobbies. They have the ear of those within our government, even at the very top. Maybe it could have been different.
Great meeting with CEOs of leading U.S. health insurance companies who provide great healthcare to the American people. pic.twitter.com/s2NMVMvQq3
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 27, 2017
I was never a true Bernie bro. I thought Vermont independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ economic plans were too far out there. His war on Wall Street and pharmaceutical companies felt a little too populist for my likings. (It probably also had something to do with my father working for a pharmaceutical company and my major being finance). But he did understand the value of a single-payer health care system.
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I do not know if he could have passed that through Congress. But I have a strong feeling he had the moral fortitude to stand up and fight for what America needs in its health care system. He would not be content polishing the turd that is our health care system.
Now, as Americans, we must inform ourselves on the ins and outs of health care and stand up for what we want; what we need.
Eric Hilkert ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in finance.