Friday, October 28, 2011

Obamacare has to go

I think most Americans will agree with me that Obamacare needs to go. It's a dangerous and uncertain plan that looms over American businesses at a time when this country needs growth in order to extract itself from a terrible financial crisis. However, I also think that the majority of Americans understand that the status quo in healthcare isn't working, and we need to fix it. Thankfully, we don't need anything as radical as Obamacare in order to fix it.

The problem with our current health care system is that it pretends not to be a universal health care solution, but it actually tries to function as one. Medicare acts as a catch-all, paying for those who cannot afford health care when they are brought to an emergency room. Sounds reasonable, since that's a life-or-death decision, but in reality, people who can't afford coverage wait until their conditions are life threatening, and then the go to the emergency room, there to be covered by Medicare. They don't do this because they want to live off of the public dole, but because it's the only option they have.

So we end up paying far more in emergency room expenses than we would otherwise (vastly more) because these patients can't afford the cheaper coverage before hand that would let them see an out-patient doctor for an infection or broken bone.

Obamacare tries to patch this up by intruding into people's lives with a giant government plan. Instead, what we need is to involve the free market. Open up options to people to allow them to subscribe to the plan of their choice where they can afford it and to provide some kind of market-sourced solution, not a giant government bureaucracy, when they can't. To help individuals to work together to get costs down, we can leverage employers by having larger employers who can already afford insurance, subscribe to the plan of their choice from the provider of their choice. Again, the market will solve an awful lot of these problems for us.

For smaller employers, we need to remain hands-off so that they have the chance to grow and flourish to become the Googles or the Amazons of tomorrow!

There are some other concerns. No matter what side of the abortion issue you're on, I think it's fair to say that Americans are divided enough that our national health care strategy should't go to pay for it. Resolving contentious issues should never be done through giant bureaucracies!

Also, the existing Medicare system should be modified to work more closely with this new, market-driven plan. That allows the government to save a substantial amount of money on Medicare and transition those services to the lower-overhead system.

To everyone who's giving me an "amen" on this anti-Obamacare rant, I'd just like to say one thing: I kind of lied. The above is a description of the Obama Health Care Plan. All of the cries of "uncertainty" and "government takeover of health care" are basically just a smoke screen to prevent you from thinking rationally about what is really the only rational solution for a country that is so heavily invested in the idea of the free market. If that were not the case, we could cut costs and improve quality of care by going to a Canadian or British single-payer model, but there's no sense pushing such a model in the U.S. right now.

The limitation of the Obama plan is that it doesn't really address many of the outstanding issues with Medicare and Medicaid coverage, but that makes it an incomplete plan, not a useless one.

If you want to understand the Obamacare plan better, and really have a handle on where it does and doesn't live up to what we should expect, see my previous article about the bill before it became law.