Obamacare’s Unhappy Anniversary

by | Apr 10, 2019

Obamacare’s Unhappy Anniversary

by | Apr 10, 2019

Last month marked nine years since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (popularly known as Obamacare) became law. Obamacare’s proponents promised that the law would reduce costs, expand access, and allow us to keep our doctors if we liked our doctors. The reality has been quite different.

Since Obamacare was enacted, individual health insurance premiums have more than doubled while small businesses have been discouraged from providing health insurance benefits. The increased costs of, and decreased access to, health care are a direct result of Obamacare’s mandates — particularly the guaranteed issue and pre-existing condition mandates. Another costly mandate forces most plans to cover “essential health benefits.” This mandate is why postmenopausal women must pay for contraceptive coverage.

The increase in health insurance premiums has not helped those who like their doctors keep their doctors. Instead, patients’ choices of providers are restricted to ever-narrower networks. As leading health care scholar John C. Goodman observed, the result is that a cancer patient from my hometown of Lake Jackson, Texas who obtains insurance through Obamacare’s exchanges cannot get treatment at nearby MD Anderson, one of the country’s top cancer treatment centers. If health care were a true free market, insurance companies would compete for the business of cancer patients and others with chronic conditions by developing innovative ways to give them the best care at an affordable price.

Sadly, few in Congress support free-market health care. The Democrats are divided between progressives who want to repeal and replace Obamacare with “Medicare for all,” the latest euphemism for single-payer healthcare, and establishment Democrats who want to save Obamacare by spending more money on subsidies for individuals and insurance companies.

President Trump has made some regulatory changes that make it easier for individuals to find affordable insurance. He has also recently called on Republicans to renew efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Most Republicans reacted to the president’s call the way Dracula reacts to a crucifix. These Republicans are terrified of the issue because they believe their half-hearted attempts to enact phony repeal bills cost them control of the House of Representatives in 2018.

President Trump himself does not actually want to repeal all of Obamacare. He just wants to repeal the “unpopular” parts. However, because the popular parts include many of Obamacare’s most destructive mandates, even if President Trump gets his way, Americans will continue to suffer with low-qualify, high-cost health care.

Any system combing subsidies that artificially increase demand with regulations and mandates that, by raising costs, artificially limit supply inevitably results in shortages, rationing, and lower quality. Therefore, no matter how much Democrats spend or how many “reforms” Republicans enact, Obamacare and other types of government-controlled health care will never “work.”

Instead of ignoring the issue, trying to prop up Obamacare, or implementing a single-payer plan, Congress should restore individuals’ control over health care dollars by expanding health care tax deductions and credits, as well as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Expanded charitable deductions could help ensure those who need assistance can obtain privately-funded charitable care instead of relying on inefficient government programs. Before Medicaid and Medicare, doctors routinely provided charitable care, while churches and private charities ran hospitals that served the poor. Individuals are more than capable of meeting their health care needs, and providing for the needs of the less fortunate, if the government gets out of the way.

Republished from ronpaulinstitute.org.

About Ron Paul

Ron Paul is a doctor, author, former member of Congress, Distinguished Counselor to the Mises Institute, and Chairman of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Our Books

thisone

Related Articles

Related

In Rebuke of the Dishonorable David Petraeus

In Rebuke of the Dishonorable David Petraeus

In a recent article for The Atlantic David Petraeus came to the conclusion that American soldiers should still be in Afghanistan today. Two thousand, three hundred twenty-four American servicemen killed, $2.3 trillion dollars and over 20 years later convicted criminal...

read more
We Don’t Believe You

We Don’t Believe You

David French, maybe National Review’s most reliably wrong scribe, issued this gem in response to the FBI raid on Donald Trump’s residence in Florida: Imagine thinking federal police agents and lawyers will be “held accountable,” or that presidents are not above the...

read more
How to End the Culture War

How to End the Culture War

The following is a section from The Voluntaryist Handbook, organized by Keith Knight. There exist two blatant contradictions which roughly ninety-nine percent of intellectuals, journalists, and voters erroneously believe. On the one hand, they say that the free market...

read more
Cops Sicced on 8 Year Old Girl’s Lemonade Stand

Cops Sicced on 8 Year Old Girl’s Lemonade Stand

Asa Baker is an 8-year-old girl from Ohio with an overwhelming entrepreneurial spirit. Over the hot summer, rather than spend the days inside watching TV, Asa would set up a lemonade stand in her front yard to make some cash. “It’s fun and you get lots of people,”...

read more
Did the FBI Win Joe Biden the 2020 Election?

Did the FBI Win Joe Biden the 2020 Election?

Joe Biden won the 2020 election as a result of 43,000 votes in three states. The election was far closer than the media has usually admitted. There were plenty of dubious factors that could have tipped the scales for a Biden victory, including machinations by the...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This