Hamilton: Unusable insurance: The Obamacare illusion (column)
March 21, 2017
In the Court of Public Opinion, even the most well-thought-out replacement for Obamacare faces an uphill battle. Here is why: Many of the previously uninsured thought they gained "free" or low-cost health-care insurance under Obamacare. But did they really? Or, had they merely gained "fake" health-care insurance?
For example, what good is an Obamacare policy if the deductibles are set so high you cannot afford to use Obamacare to pay medical bills? What good is an Obamacare policy if the premiums rise so high that, even with taxpayer subsidies, you can no longer afford the premiums? We ask. You decide.
Actually, the title: The Affordable Health Care Act (AKA Obamacare) was misleading from the beginning. The act was not about health care. America already possessed the world's best health care. The act was about health insurance. The act was a scheme designed to force (mandate) young, healthy Americans to patronize the major health-insurance companies.
But Obamacare was doomed to fail for at least two reasons: 1. Obamacare mandated a one-size-fits-all health-insurance policy which, among other things, demanded that celibates pay for birth control pills and that those opposed to infanticide pay for abortions. 2. Obamacare prevented free market competition from bringing down the cost of health-insurance premiums and it allowed deductibles to rise so high that low-income people could not afford to use it.
When Obamacare was first proposed, the prospect of gaining about 20 million young, healthy premium payers attracted some of the major health-insurance companies.
When Obamacare was first proposed, the prospect of gaining about 20 million young, healthy premium payers attracted some of the major health-insurance companies. The young were a lot less likely to be sick than their older policy holders who were needing more and more medical procedures and were draining the coffers of the health insurance providers. But too many of the young chose to pay the mandated tax (fine) rather than enroll in Obamacare. Or, they lived with their parents or found some other way to game the system and not buy health insurance.
Many employers who, prior to Obamacare, provided their employees with health-insurance plans took advantage of Obamacare's 50-employee-threshold provision. They reduced their work forces to 49 or less, leaving previously insured employees to fend for themselves. Many employees, working less than 30-hours-per-week, no longer had the benefit of employer-provided health insurance. Result: hundreds of thousands saw their work hours reduced from full-time employment to part-time jobs. Or, they lost their jobs entirely. Ouch!
Finding Obamacare unprofitable, the major health-insurance companies are bailing out. The states that opted for state-run insurance exchanges are dropping their exchanges like soiled surgical bandages. So, whether Obamacare was intended for good or ill, the result for millions has been ill. The collapse of Obamacare is so imminent that even a Democrat-controlled Congress and White House would be compelled to overhaul Obamacare in line with a free market able to sell health insurance across state lines.
Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled Congress and White House face a daunting task. Even if the current regime comes up with the perfect replacement for Obamacare, the unwitting millions who actually had "fake" Obamacare health-insurance policies are going to scream bloody murder. The anti-Trump myth-stream media won't mention that much of Obamacare was illusory and will join in the screams, hoping for the Democrats to take back the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections of 2018.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.