For over a decade, this nation has been having a partisan, rhetoric – driven, discussion/ debate, about health care, and how to best address the need to better serve the needs of the American public. In 2010, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA, a.k.a. Obamacare), largely along party lines. Although, a necessary step, and well – intentioned, unfortunately, as occurs with most legislation, there were many areas, not fully considered, and/ or, false assumptions made. Politically, Republican politicians have spent much of that period, blaming and complaining, about the law, but, offering few, if any, realistic, viable solutions or plans! When Donald Trump, was a candidate, he proclaimed, he’d fix it, and replace it, with something, less expensive, and far better (and, also, stated, it would be easy for him, to achieve). Even with a party majority, in both houses of Congress, all, they did, was weaken the existing law, without doing anything to better serve our needs! Since we are now embarking on another Presidential political seasons, we are hearing much rhetoric, and promises, about, how each candidate believes, we should proceed. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, 5 choices/ options, and, both, the possibilities and assets, as well as weaknesses of each approach.
1. Free Market: To a very large degree, this is the G.O.P. approach. They proclaim, the choice, should be left to each individual, and, this way, there would be fewer requirements, for health insurance. However, prior to 2010, this was the approach, and insurance rates were spiraling, there were large deductibles, pre – existing conditions could be excluded, and, there were tens of millions of citizens, who were uncovered by any plan.
2. ACA restored: Simply restoring the Alternative Care Act, in its entirety, would not solve the problems! Because of the political compromises, in passing this legislation, it was a well – intentioned, but, flawed law! Because of much of the political rhetoric, and misstatements, at one point, many opposed it, because they believed, the statements made! Rates were going up, far faster than anticipated, and medical costs, kept rising!
3. ACA improved: Instead of throwing it out, and starting again, to reinvent the wheel, wouldn’t it make more sense, to tweak it, and fix what’s wrong? Protecting the protections for preexisting conditions, making health insurance available, etc, are essential, to any quality plan, but coming up with a more affordable process, lower deductibles, lower drug prices, etc, are among the many things, which should be enhanced, and improved!
4. Medicare – for – All: There has been lots of hoopla, for what is referred to, as Medicare – for – All. Some political proponents proclaim, Americans love Medicare, and, a single – payer plan, would be more efficient, and fairer. However, since we pay, out of every pay check, a premium for this program, all our working life, and, then continue paying, over $135 each month, after age 65, it obviously isn’t free! We are constantly warned about the financial stresses on the program, and, this is, despite the premiums paid. In addition, Medicare Part B, only pays about 80% of the cost of physicians’ care, and, the best of the supplemental programs, now costs, nearly $3,500 per year, in addition. How many, truly believe, the track record of the federal government, is stellar, in terms of getting the best, bang – for – the – buck?
5. Public/ private options: It might be the best approach, to combine the best of, what private industry offers, with the so – called, public options! This might bring about a degree of competition, improvement, and addressing the major issues and obstacles.
No option will effectively handle the needs, unless it includes, addressing the costs of prescription drugs, treating preexisting conditions, medical liability/ malpractice laws, and the costs of hospital care, etc. Unless/ until, our elected officials, put doing what’s best, instead of their personal/ political agenda, and, perceived, self – interest, Americas will suffer!