It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone paying attention that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is a disaster. With the exponentially rising premiums, collapsing exchanges, and reduction in the quality of care, it seems that all the criticisms of the bill, which was rammed through congress without a single Republican vote, have become reality. It’s getting so bad that even Democrats are starting to back awayfrom President Obama’s signature legislative victory.
Given the proof of Obamacare’s failure and eight years preparation, the stage should be set for President Trump and Republicans to make good on their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare with a free market approach to health care.
The problem is that House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) partial-repeal/replacement bill fails on all fronts. In fact, if passed as-is, it may turn out to be worse than Obamacare.
Introduced earlier this month, the American Health Care Act, would repeal some aspects of Obamacare, while keep some of the more popular aspects of the law in place. It would also add additional new legislation. The idea of a partial repeal is being widely criticized from within the ranks of the GOP. Leading the opposition is the House Freedom Caucus, including Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Justin Amash (R-MI), as well as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has drafted his own replacement bill.
The preferred strategy of these critics has been a full repeal of Obamacare, followed by a separate replacement bill. This approach makes the most sense, as Sen. Paul makes clear in an interview with Breitbart, “I think from the very beginning combining repeal and replace in one bill makes it very hard because we have different ideas on replace. We are pretty much united on repeal, but we have different ideas on replace.”
Later in the same interview, Sen. Paul makes the objections to Ryan’s bill, which he dubbed Obamacare-Lite, crystal clear.
“So they [Ryan’s bill supporters] keep the subsidies, they keep the taxes, and then they keep the mandate. Then the fourth thing they do is they actually subsidize the insurance companies. Right now, insurance companies are losing money and Obamacare has this rescue thing called ‘risk corridors’ to bail out the insurance companies. Paul Ryan has got the same thing, he just calls it reinsurance and it’s $100 million worth. I predict that might not even be enough. So I don’t like any of it.”
The major reason health care is so expensive is due to the State’s constant interference in the health care market; interference to the point where even calling what we have a market seems ridiculous. American healthcare is a twisted system of State granted monopolies, subsidized demand, and artificially reduced supply. Not a winning trifecta.
Health care, as important as it is, is still a good to be bought and sold and medical services are very much like services in many other industries. The solution, of course, would be to fully unleash the power of the voluntary free market and get government out of the way. In 2009, Hans Hoppe published a “A Four Step Healthcare Solution“, in which he provides a short outline on the transition to a free market.
The free market isn’t a utopia and problems are going to exist in any system, but what the market does provide is the highest quality healthcare and lowest cost and does it without heavy handed government interference.