Healthcare Reform a Challenge for President
Yesterday, the Senate released its healthcare bill which has satisfied only a few and infuriated many. The bill does remove the widely despised “personal mandate” which forced people to buy health insurance and does provide tax credits so people can buy health insurance. Unfortunately, it also deeply cuts medicare and medicaid which many elderly and low income Americans rely on. President Trump repeatedly promised not to cut medicaid, which the Senate bill does making it disappointing for many of Trump’s supporters.
The only thing anyone agrees on about healthcare in America is that the system is deeply broken. Prices are skyrocketing out of the reach of ordinary Americans.
Former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act was intended to lower prices and provide coverage for all. Instead, it led to insurance premiums becoming higher.
President Trump repeatedly promised to fix the healthcare system. Whether his reforms will be effective remain to be seen.
If President Trump wants to solve the healthcare crisis, get coverage for all Americans and please all parties in the process there are a number of things he must do:
- He must find a way to lower healthcare prices.
- He must find a way to make healthcare affordable.
- He must end the monopolistic practice of hospital consolidation and he must do this without further raising taxes, which are already a burden on both ordinary citizens and corporations.
Is he up to the challenge? There is a solution to the conundrum which no one has yet tried which might be the president’s best bet in avoiding the pitfalls of his predecessor.
One question that must be asked is why is healthcare so expensive in the first place? People do not need insurance to go to the grocery store. Imagine if food was so expensive that the state had to subsidize it and there was “grocery insurance” to help people buy food. This is not a situation which people would tolerate.
One major reason for the rising costs of healthcare is the practice of hospital consolidation.
Paul B. Ginsberg, professor of health policy at the University of Southern California, flat out states that hospital consolidation is what is driving up the cost of healthcare. This is because monopolies always drive up prices. If a business has a monopoly in a given area, which many hospitals do, then they do not have to worry about competition. Therefore, they can raise prices as high as they want to.
There are two possible solutions to this problem. The government can impose price controls or the government can pass stricter anti-trust laws which will break up the monopolies. The elegance of the second solution is that it goes according to free-market principles, would undoubtedly lower costs and would not raise taxes like a public healthcare system would.
However, even with this system some would undoubtedly be left out. Not everyone is capable of making enough money to buy healthcare. Some people are disabled or live in economically disadvantaged areas. Others are elderly and can no longer work. Cuts to medicaid and medicare are unfair to these individuals.
As the American people have paid into both programs through our taxes, it is ludicrous for the government to cut these programs.
Where has the medicare money been going? My research has not answered this question. I will not publicly accuse any officials of embezzling funds. However, the evidence speaks for itself. If the American people have been paying into these programs for over fifty years, where is our money? Will they stop deducting medicare from our paychecks if it’s no longer going to be able to be used? Americans need to demand answers to these questions.