Two For Thought

Repealing Obamacare

Same topic, different views

By Tim Baldwin

Republicans are trying to repeal Obamacare. Some want to replace and others do not. This is likely going to be the most notable task on their agenda for the next few years.

With Trump’s election, Republicans know this is their chance to do something with Obamacare. They are working on a plan to garner enough votes to pass the House and Senate, and it doesn’t seem a repeal-only plan will pass. Meanwhile, Trump is doing what he can with parts of Obamacare that allow for administrative control.

America’s healthcare system has not been based in free market principles for many years. Even if Obamacare were repealed, the system would still be heavily regulated by the government. Still, to allow some free market principles to improve the system, Republicans have to eliminate the individual mandate, allow insurance companies to compete across state lines and allow individuals to create association health plans.

Despite the promises, Obamacare did not have the positive impact for many Americans. Democrats acknowledge this, but their answer is for more, if not complete government control of the system. But much of America is resistant of such a revolutionary move. It likely won’t happen — at least for a long time.

This is the Republicans’ opportunity to push the healthcare system closer to a free market system, though there is a long way to go before that actually happens.

By Joe Carbonari

Peace of mind and health of body. We all want it – access to health care when and if we need it –and we want it for those that we love and care for. Unfortunately, it can, and often does, cost more than we can afford. We can save for it, but most of us can’t save enough. Health care can be devastatingly expensive. The free market system has yet to find an answer.

Health care is subsidized in all civilized societies. It marks our humanity. Under Obamacare we vastly expanded health coverage and paid for it by taxes on the wealthy and fees that urged the young and healthy to buy coverage instead of gambling that they wouldn’t need it. This worked only moderately well. Coverage expanded in the lower income levels, but health care costs continued to rise, especially for those who didn’t get coverage at work or benefit from low-income subsidies. Private purchasers could find themselves paying more and getting less, so that the less well-off would be covered better.  No free lunch here. It was, and is, a cost shift.

We are now shifting back. The proposed repeal and replace legislation now in the House would reduce the tax liability on upper income groups by an estimated $200-300 billion over a decade.  Awaiting the official Congressional Budget Office’s nonpartisan estimates, guesses at the number of low-income individuals likely to lose coverage has run in the 5-20 million ranges –a hefty shift indeed. Trump voters are disproportionally affected. What a fix they are in.