Why healthcare reform must involve less government, not more

Ed Martin Chairman, Missouri GOP
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Let’s agree: health care is a very big deal to every American. I have children, and their health and safety is a top priority for my wife and me.

Let’s agree on this too: how the United States pays for and delivers health care is terrible — it is distorted almost beyond recognition. Even before Obamacare, we spent a fortune on health care, far more than many other industrialized nations, and yet we do not enjoy far better health outcomes in proportion to our spending.

So, let’s be clear: every serious person knows that we are need some reform in health care.

If we agree on all of this, however, one fact is inescapable: the reforms we need must entail less government involvement not more. To see why, look no further than the catastrophic failure that has been the rollout of Obamacare.

All over the country, tens of thousands of people are being told their current health care coverage is terminated because their plan is not compliant with the Affordable Care Act. While most of these people are being offered new coverage of some sort, the requirements of the ACA are making most plans more expensive for most people.

With the utterly non-functional Obamacare sign-up website, these consumers are unable to find out if their options on the government-run marketplace are going to be more affordable than the extensions of coverage being offered by their current insurance carrier. For those who are getting quotes on the cost of coverage, the results are not looking good. Many consumers are reporting that their government marketplace premiums are higher — even with taxpayer subsidies. Their deductibles are also higher, putting them at greater financial risk. Despite the president’s promise, untold thousands are about to be hammered financially.

First, the website had “glitches” and now its performance is “unacceptable” and in need of significant fixes. As the President announced his “tech surge” and calls in experts to fix the problems, it raises an obvious question: why were these experts not on the project in the first place? But Healthcare.gov is an emblem of the deeper problem.

Obamacare is only the latest, destructive example of what happens when you have too much government and it began before the healthcare ‘reform’ was forced upon us. The federal government gives employer-based health insurance a tax benefit that individuals cannot enjoy. State governments create coverage mandates and exclude competitors, increasing the costs of insurance. Government-run Medicare distorts the market in health care. Government-conceived health maintenance organizations separated the consumer from the cost of the services they would consume, creating perverse incentives which in turn drive up costs.

Insurance using health savings accounts were among the most stable premiums and popular among consumers and they are being eviscerated by Obamacare. Other simple federal and state reforms that empower individuals and lower costs are ignored.

True reform would allow the purchase of health care insurance across state lines so that competition increases and costs drop. Reform of our patent system could protect creators without needlessly penalizing consumers.

Alas, there is no problem caused by government that government will not try to fix with more government.

Too many well-meaning Americans believed the Obama/Reid/Pelosi promise that they could reform how America handles its health care with a 2000+ page law that spawns tens of thousands of pages of regulations and millions of lines of faulty computer code.

At the beginning of this awful mess, we had roughly 46 million uninsured individuals. Obamacare is going to cost $170 billion per year. And yet, by 2022 — nine years from now and billions upon billions of dollars later — the Congressional Budget Office projects we will have … 31 million uninsured individuals! In other words, the problem won’t be anywhere nearly fixed.

The truth is that Obamacare is unfixable no matter what we do to tweak it. It should be repealed as soon as possible. Then, we can look for real reform.