The Trouble with Trump, Republicans and Obamacare

flowchart

Flowchart Logic

 

I’m not optimistic about the demise of Obamacare.  Watching Republicans deal with this ticking time bomb for the past eight years has been like watching the Keystone Cops handle a stick of dynamite with a lighted fuse.  Oh there’s a handful who know what they’re doing, but they’re hindered by the clowns who haven’t got a clue, a sad reminder that conservatives don’t get to choose who dons the ‘Republican’ label.  First they talked about repealing it.  Then this became “repeal and replace” after Republicans predictably fell into the Left’s trap of adopting the “healthcare system” rhetoric and assuming ownership in the event they “break” Obamacare, LOL.  With conflicts and debates about what the “replacement” should entail, Republicans naturally can’t agree on how to proceed.  Meanwhile Obama and his leftist cohorts are rubbing their hands together with glee because many Americans are bound to be unhappy, and unhappiness fuels the divide that keeps the Democrat Party alive.  They know too many foolish Republicans will not be able to resist the temptation to attempt the impossible – and potentially suicidal – task of trying to please everyone, including even the freeloaders who don’t deserve to be pleased.  That will be their doom.

Here at home I’m banging my head against the wall because this dilemma over how to proceed would resolve itself quite easily if only Republicans would go back to their conservative roots (assuming they have any, which I concede is taking a lot for granted) and begin by asking one fundamental question, which is as follows:

 

Is it the federal government’s constitutional responsibility to ensure every American has healthcare?

 

Every undertaking by congress should begin with a similarly simple question.  That’s how the Constitution was intended to work, and if Republicans would only remember this their jobs would be infinitely simpler and clearer; but of course they don’t remember it which is why they’re struggling.  I would say the same for Democrats except we all know that the Constitution never matters to them except in those instances where it can be used to constrain Republicans.

How incredibly tragic is it that our brilliant founding fathers gave congress the perfect procedure manual for how to do their jobs but they keep forgetting that it exists?  Instead they run around in circles like the axiomatic headless chickens, tripping over each other and mucking up the coop.  Just for the fun of it, let’s look at what would happen if Republicans would take my simple advice and begin their deliberations by answering the question above.

Let’s start with the right answer first, which is, of course, “No.”  The federal government has neither the responsibility nor the authority to ensure that every American has healthcare under the Constitution.  As I promised that makes the job of congress very simple on this issue, because it can’t get any simpler than doing nothing.  But alas it’s too late for simple because Democrats already set us on the wrong path by ignoring the Constitution and failing to answer the question correctly.  The flow chart cannot be held responsible for human error, and since we have unnecessarily complicated our lives the extrication will be more complicated than it should have been and yet it still will be exponentially simpler than continuing down the wrong path as I will demonstrate shortly.

If the correct answer is “No,” then the next step is easy and clear:

 

Repeal Obamacare

 

“But what about the millions of people who are going to be uninsured now?!” some will whine.

Go back to your fundamental question:  Is it the federal government’s constitutional responsibility to ensure every American has healthcare?

The answer is still “No,” and it must remain “No” no matter how much whining and how many tragedies are predicted to occur as a consequence of following the Constitution.  There is no caveat in the Constitution that says, “Follow these rules unless some people are unhappy.”  People who are getting free or subsidized healthcare at someone else’s expense are always going to be unhappy when that’s taken away.  The solution is to create a new path that makes healthcare affordable for those who are willing to earn it rather than giving up and continuing down the wrong path.  Either the free market and/or the states will provide the solutions people need with respect to healthcare if we just get the federal government out of the way, which leads me to the next step in our flowchart:

 

Undo all federal government laws and regulations that interfere with the free market delivery of healthcare

 

Sadly this step would not be necessary if not for the fact that Congress has ignored the Constitution so many times up to this point, but alas it has and so it complicates what would otherwise be a simple flowchart.

Finally, I’d like to suggest one more step:

 

Pass a federal law requiring all healthcare providers to publish a current list of prices for all of the services they offer

 

This is the one thing the federal government could do to facilitate the free market process of healthcare delivery, because as it stands now we are expected to be consumers in a market where we are virtually blind, and this puts us at an impossible disadvantage.  If the government can dictate that McDonalds has to publish the calorie count of a Big Mac for the good of the consumer, then certainly a much greater good yet would be to ensure consumers have the tools they need to make informed choices about healthcare services.  That should be the extent of the federal government’s involvement, in my humble opinion.

The last box in the “No” path of the flowchart would therefore be:

 

Free Market Healthcare

 

See how simple that was even with having to fix our prior missteps?  Okay, it won’t be simple because there are a lot of missteps to undo along the way, but at least the path is clear, which is much more than we can say now.  We know how to get from here to there if only we stay focused on our fundamental question:   Is it the federal government’s constitutional responsibility to ensure every American has healthcare?  And stay firm on the answer:  No.

Now let’s consider what the flowchart looks like if we answer incorrectly, i.e. “Yes” (and let me say that if you answered “Yes” you’re not a conservative).  Imagine a long series of flowchart boxes, one after another, with laws and regulations you’re already familiar with:  EMTALA, Medicaid legislation, Obamacare…..plus a whole lot more to come as the powers that be stumble around attempting to fix the inevitable failures of these misguided laws with yet more misguided laws.  Skipping to the end of the flowchart here’s what you’ll find:

 

Socialized Medicine

 

That’s right.  If you incorrectly answer “Yes” to the question of whether the federal government is responsible to ensure that all Americans have healthcare, the “Yes” path can only lead to one place:   socialized medicine,  and all that this implies:  the shortages, the long waits, costs based not on what service you received but on how much money you make, and the worst thing of all:  people forced to participate against their will.  Is this what Republicans want?  We could go through it step by step but why should that be necessary?  We already know what happens as a consequence of answering “Yes” when we should have answered “No.”  We have history to look upon, and what’s that famous quote about failing to learn the lessons of history?  History is too often forgotten, just like the Constitution.

There’s so much more to say and I could go on, but for now, as my old friend Mrs. AL used to say, just munge on that for a while.

 

~CW



Categories: Political

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4 replies

  1. A topic worthy of heavy duty munging, for sure. (H/T to Mrs. AL)

    You raise a good point about publishing the details of each company’s health care plan, to allow comparison shopping.

    We can do that now for things like hotel rooms, airfare, and even for more expensive items like auto insurance. Applications abound that allow us to compare rates and amenities for several companies on a single website. Why wouldn’t that work for health insurance?

    It wouldn’t have to be any more complicated than it is to price a used car.

    Simply check the boxes for those benefits that you want. For example, being single, I don’t need or want maternity benefits so I don’t check that box. When I’ve “designed” my personal health plan, I just click a box to compare plans offering my requirements, all showing premiums, deductibles, and payment options, all from nationally-offered plans.

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    • I was actually referring to the prices that hospitals, clinics, physicians and other healthcare providers charge, Garnet, although I agree that it’s also imperative for insurance companies to publish their prices but I assume that information is available if you shop for insurance. Personally we don’t really “shop” for insurance anymore because we get insurance through my husband’s employer, and they just offer three options that are described in a comparison sheet provided to us. Even then, however, we are never provided with the list of the negotiated prices that the insurance company has worked out with the providers it contracts with, so we are in the dark until after some medical issue occurs.

      Right now when you get your bill after a visit, procedure and/or hospital stay the bill usually comes as a complete surprise (and more often than not it’s more like a shock). Imagine what would happen if say, auto mechanics worked this way, and instead of giving you an estimate and charging you based upon their published rates you had no idea how much the bill would be until they handed it to you? What a time to find out that the mechanic you chose charges $500 for an oil change.

      Many years ago we had a friend with Crohn’s Disease who had no insurance. He was going to have to pay for surgery/care out of pocket. As they decided which facility to use, they found that the task of figuring out how much any hospital charges for things like Tylenol was next to impossible.

      A few years ago my husband had a minor surgical procedure that required about 4-5 hours of recovery in the surgical facility. The bill we got was over $60,000 before insurance. I think when all was said and done we paid about $3,000 out of pocket, but it goes to show the insanity of it all. My son had an incident a few months ago where he jumped up from the couch too suddenly and fainted after taking a few steps. He hit the floor so hard he ended up getting 10 stitches in his temple. The emergency room people suggest he get a CT scan. When it was all said and done it cost us about $3,000 out of pocket. The CT scan was about $2,000 of that. That’s something we could have theoretically shopped around for if the information were available. And guess what might happen to prices if people were able to comparison shop? You might opt for one emergency room over another if you know in advance that one charges significantly less.

      Medical providers and insurance companies all play a game, the object of which is to get as much money from us suckers as possible, and it’s possible to get A LOT because we allow ourselves to be gamed. With government sticking its nose in everything it’s a mystery to me why no one ever proposes a bill to get transparency in medical pricing.

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  2. If memory serves, we talked about the unconstitutionality of this back when those Einsteins first created it and rammed it down our throats…er.. I mean implemented it. Of course back then, just as they do now, the dems never gave that a second thought, not when they perceive a need for something as well as a way to make money off of it.

    Aside from Ted Cruz and a handful of others, the rest of the Rs never put up a fight about whether or not the government should be in the health care business. And now after dealing with it all these years and their lack of backbone, it doesn’t occur to them to actually toss it out and leave it to the free market. Once the government creates something, good or bad, they never get rid of it. Social security was supposed to be temporary, right?

    Nor did it occur to Trump to toss it out, but then we knew from the onset the Constitution wasn’t his strong suit, so yes, we are well on our way to socialized medicine.

    Good stuff to munge on, CW.

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    • Democrats have been winning the battle of minds on Obamacare because in the years since it was enacted we have gone from insisting it’s unconstitutional (which it is no matter what John Roberts says) to mimicking the Democrat’s rhetoric about fixing “the American healthcare system.” When did we approve this idea of an American healthcare “system?” It has come to exist in people’s minds by default, because of the Republicans’ failure to dispute it. But owning people’s minds is what matters in this battle and Democrats understand that. If we have a nationwide “system,” that naturally implies government involvement and control. So it’s imperative that our representatives pushback hard against this idea and reinforce our position that healthcare is a private endeavor/responsibility for every individual. If we don’t first do that there can be no hope of making Obamacare disappear and restoring a healthy free market.

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