By focusing solely on the need to increase insurance coverage, lawmakers ignore how insurance keeps consumers a step removed from the actual costs of the care they receive. A completely transparent system, in which patients could compare and shop for the best cost for elective surgeries or long-term care, would benefit all, especially the poor.
A bill addressing such issues would take time to write. It would, of necessity, require bipartisan support. The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare's flaw was that it passed without a single Republican vote. The current proposal repeats this mistake by anticipating no Democratic support. That mistake is compounded by a drive to bring it to a vote next week without a single committee hearing.
Why the rush? Why not take the time to do it right?
To be sure, Obamacare did not address costs, either. It was filled with other flaws, and its original intent, since modified by courts, held religious liberties, regarding abortion and contraception, in contempt.
But its attempt to influence states to expand Medicaid coverage and provide more care for the vulnerable populations had noble aims. We supported efforts to craft a unique
The new bill also would allow states to drop requirements that insurance companies cover maternity and mental health care. It would allow those companies to charge elderly people five times as much for premiums as other age groups, up from the current three-times limit.
While the premise that government cannot afford the expanding cost of subsidizing a new health care entitlement is correct, the bill ignores a fundamental truth about public costs. When it comes to services that affect the poor, the public will likely pay one way or the other.
Untreated mental illness leads to a host of other social problems, including crime and homelessness. Onerous costs for the elderly can lead to more people using emergency rooms for maladies best handled early by general practitioners.
Beyond that, the
One-party attempts at reform doom Americans to a spate of never- ending partisan health care versions. Should the
Given what is at stake for an aging American population, people should demand nothing less.