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03/24/2017 / By JD Heyes
As of this writing, it isn’t known whether the American Health Care Act has passed or not, but regardless of what you personally think about the legislation – and President Donald J. Trump’s and Vice President Mike Pence’s support for it – the one element it seems to lack is freedom.
Freedom of choice, mostly. That is, the freedom to have health insurance (or not). The freedom to choose which plan best suits you. The freedom to shop for a plan anywhere in the country. The freedom to choose plans from several private sector insurance companies. And so on.
There is little choice in the AHCA – and that’s mostly what’s wrong with it.
There are some improvements to the bill, but overall, it just doesn’t advance freedom nearly enough. It doesn’t free us from the confines of top-down, big government, one-size-fits-all, overly regulated Obamacare. And any repeal measure should do that. (RELATED: In The Case Of Trump Vs. Congress On Health Care Reform, Bet On The President Every Time)
Because that’s what President Obama and socialist Democrats took away from us when they passed the “Affordable” Care Act (that has become anything but affordable). No matter what problems existed in the health care industry before Obamacare, the primary “reform” contained in the ACA was the federal government’s removal of choice.
Well, the final removal of choice. The government has been interfering in the private health care sector for decades, adding rules and regulations governing everything from Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates to insurance company practices. Each new intervention into that market caused health care providers and health insurers to adjust their business practices in favor of Uncle Sam and to the disadvantage of consumers and patients. Each new meddling into the private health care sector resulted in a loss of freedom of choice for nearly all Americans.
Obamacare removed virtually all freedom of choice that did remain. No longer could even young, healthy Americans forego health insurance coverage. Gone were the days when consumers could pick the coverage they wanted, and ignore coverage they didn’t want or didn’t need (like we can still do with automobile insurance). Insurers were forced to provide expensive health coverage to people with preexisting conditions, but were not permitted to bill for that more expensive coverage (so they passed it on to consumers because they had no other choice).
Unless and until consumer choice is placed back into the health care and health insurance markets, no amount of tinkering around the edges of Obamacare, which is what many believe the AHCA actually does, will return to consumers the freedom of choice that is vitally necessary to bolster competition once again, which in turn drives down the price of the product and service.
Consider: One reason why health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket deductibles have risen so dramatically is that in most Obamacare state exchanges, there are very few health insurance company choices. Big insurers like Aetna and Blue Cross are pulling out of the exchanges because they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars per year. They are not getting the numbers of consumers Obama and Democrats promised them, and the ones they are getting tend to be sicker. While Democrats continue to lie about how many “choices” there are in the exchanges, Americans who are actually attempting to utilize them know better; they have seen choices disappear, at the same time their monthly premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed. (RELATED: Why the big secret behind the GOP’s new Obamacare ‘repeal and replace’ legislation?)
Fortunately, more than a few Republicans – who are in the congressional majority – understand this completely. They have been opposed to “RyanCare” from the get go because they correctly see it as virtually empty legislation that maintains the key elements of choice-killing, health care market-altering Obamacare. And they have rightly concluded that they don’t want their name, or the president’s name, attached to it.
One of them is Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has said he opposes the original AHCA legislation because it does nothing to return freedom of choice to consumers. And a House colleague, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., says he is “afraid” Trump could be “a one-term president” if the legislation on the floor passes.
He may be right. Americans who supported Trump and gave Republicans solid majorities in both chambers of Congress sent them there, in part, not to leave the major essence of Obamacare in place, but repeal it and replace it with something that gives them – and the health care market in general – back their freedom of choice.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.
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