The chief architect of Obamacare admitted Sunday that former President Barack Obama’s landmark health care legislation has problems that need to be addressed immediately.
Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Rahm Emanuel, is currently a senior fellow at the Center for America Progress, a progressive think-tank in Washington, D.C. Before joining the think-tank, Emanuel served as a health care adviser to Obama during the construction and initial implementation of the Affordable Care Act. (RELATED: Obama, Chief Health Official Already Floating Public Option To Replace Failing Obamacare)
Appearing Sunday on “CBS This Morning,” Emanuel said there are legitimate problems with Obamacare that policymakers need to address.
“Absolutely. We’ve had unintended consequences from the Affordable Care Act. We’ve had problems that were in the bill that we couldn’t solve before it got enacted,” Emanuel said. Emanuel said that Obamacare has “been around for seven years, so some of the problems have become obvious. Any corporation that would do a massive change like this would make constant adjustments. Because of the paralysis in Congress, we haven’t been able to make the adjustments.”
The health care policy wonk’s proposed solutions to the problems with Obamacare gravitate towards more, or total, government control of the health care marketplace.
Emanuel wrote a piece for the Washington Post Aug 2016 in which he acknowledged there were problems with Obamacare and provided a five-prong solution to fixing them. Most important of these solutions, a public option to the healthcare exchanges. He says that “we should consider a public option,” because “consumers should never be subject to the whims of insurer withdrawals or withdrawal threats.”
A public option would essentially “be a government-sponsored and government-run insurance plan, probably modeled on the traditional Medicare program, which would be offered to customers on the exchanges as an alternative to the private-insurance plans,” according to AEI.
Unlike private insurers, who have to set prices through negotiating with hospitals and physicians, publicly run insurance plans would not have the necessity to negotiate. Rather, a public option would be in the business of setting prices, not market equilibrium.
In a March 2, 2014, article in The New Republic, titled “Insurance Companies as We Know Them Are About to Die,” Emanuel wrote that Obamacare “will force insurance companies to evolve or become extinct.”
Emanuel explained how Obamacare created “accountable care organizations (ACOs)” that directly compete with private insurance companies in the government-created “exchanges and for exclusive contracts with employers.”
“Over the next decade many of these ACOs and hospital systems,” Emanuel wrote, will develop, or purchase the “actuarial capacity to predict and manage financial risk,” an area where private insurance companies currently dominate.
Once ACOs and hospitals acquire this ability, they will effectively cut out “the insurance company middle man—and keep the insurance company profits for themselves,” creating what Emanuel calls “integrated delivery systems.”
Integrated delivery systems will largely replace private insurance companies, according to Emanuel. These systems will also act as arbiters in their client’s major health care decisions.
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