Perils of Replacing ObamaCare

ObamaCare crashes - cartoon

It is now well-established fact among all except the ideologically extreme left that ObamaCare is a failure. It is about to crash and burn. In a recent post (Death Spiral is ObamaCare Reality) we learned that insurance executives have admitted defeat and are pulling out of the ObamaCare exchanges. Already in 2017 roughly one-third of all counties in the U.S. offer only one choice on the ObamaCare exchanges and next year will be worse.

Despite this chaos, Democrats continue to defend the indefensible. They prefer to stoke the fears of the public that repeal of ObamaCare will leave millions without healthcare insurance and they don’t plan to cooperate in finding a better solution.

This makes the task much more difficult for Republicans. They must craft a strategy that repeals ObamaCare and replaces it with a better system – without leaving anyone worse off in the process. The political pressure is high because the media will be quick to criticize any Republican efforts and happy to promote Democratic talking points. Even though this mess was created by Democrats, Republicans will own any problems caused by the replacement process.

How would the situation be different if Hillary had been elected?

If Hillary Clinton had been elected the Democrats would not be repealing ObamaCare. They would be taking steps to “fix” the problems – by making even more demands on the insurance industry, like placing caps on deductibles and spending per year. Consumers would like these changes, at first, because they would lower out-of-pocket spending.

But the insurance industry would continue to lose millions of dollars and this wouldn’t reverse the withdrawal of these companies from the exchanges. In fact, it would accelerate the trend.

What would happen next?

The inevitable result would be pressure on the government to act to guarantee healthcare coverage. Since the private insurance market will have dried up, the government would have to provide the insurance. The government would insure everyone – and control the treatment provided and the fees paid to providers (hospitals and doctors). That’s called single-payer healthcare.

What’s wrong with that?

Single-payer healthcare currently exists in countries like Canada, Great Britain and Sweden. In every system that reverts to government control, the inevitable result is decreased access to healthcare providers.

The government is interested in controlling the cost of providing healthcare. Therefore they control access to providers by limiting the number of doctors and hospitals where approved treatment is provided. They control the number of diagnostic tests, including MRI scanners, CT scanners, PET scanners, Mammograms, Cardiac testing, etc. They control the number of procedures approved including total joint replacements, cardiac stents, coronary artery bypasses, etc. They place limits on who can be approved based on their general health and set arbitrary age limitations. All in an effort to control costs.

The sad truth is that single-payer healthcare would not be an improvement over ObamaCare – it would be worse. Yet Democrats would sell this debacle to the American public with promises they can’t deliver. Instead of working with Republicans to craft a better healthcare system than ObamaCare, they remain committed to obstruction in pursuit of a system that has failed in every country that has ever tried it. There’s a reason Canadians flock across our border by the millions every year to seek their healthcare in the United States.


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