By L&T Publisher Earl Watt
Kathleen Sebelius ran an editorial in the weekend edition of the USA Today praising the improvements of healthcare.gov, but the USA Today editorial board was not so quick to give the site, or the new law, a thumbs up.
In the end, USA Today said that the political viability of the law still seemed very much in doubt.
But one particular piece of criticism for those opposed to the law is not an appropriate observation.
According to the USA Today editorial board, “... critics have yet to propose an alternative that would deliver what Obamacare promises: to replace a harsh and costly insurance market with one that ensures good coverage at a fair price.”
One of the major problems with Obamacare is that it was a lie from the start. Asking someone else to lie is no better.
Obamacare could never deliver what it promised — to replace a harsh and costly insurance market with one that ensures good coverage at a fair price.
If Barack Obama promised everyone a Rolls Royce for $500, and then couldn’t deliver, is it the responsibility of the opposition to offer Rolls Royces for $500, too?
What is required from the opposition is the truth.
Republicans tried to be very upfront with the American people about what was causing the rising costs of healthcare — frivolous lawsuits against doctors being among them.
Doctors also have to carry insurance, business insurance, against these claims, and these suits have resulted in multi-million dollar settlements.
I’m not talking about removing the wrong leg type of lawsuits. Those are legitimate.
I’m talking about good doctors treating a toe infection and later being sued because the patient had a heart condition that the patient claims the toe doctor should have detected.
There are ridiculous lawsuits that should be illegal, but jurors look at doctors as money making machines, and so they award millions.
This causes doctors to have to run many more tests on patients than necessary, simply to avoid future litigation, which runs up the cost of health care. Doctors also have to carry very expensive malpractice insurance, and this, too, ends up costing more to patients.
These were very honest concerns about the health care system, but promising cheap health care sounded better.
Of course it does. But it is also impossible without limiting lawsuits.
Trying to bait the opposition into another give-away program won’t help a struggling economy, won’t result in lower costs and won’t enhance health care.
What we need is the truth, and the truth is insurance is expensive for a reason. Instead of treating the symptoms, lawmakers should look to the cause. With limited numbers of doctors being allowed to attend medical schools and frivolous lawsuits, supply is limited and the cost to do business is high.
The current law also tried to control costs by setting prices, but 65 percent of the doctors in California are refusing to accept the exchange insurance policies.
Again, you can offer something cheap, but that is exactly what you will get.
Why do we believe the government can reduce the costs? If that were true, why don’t we have them reduce the price of gasoline, lower housing costs, etc?
The answer is the same today as it was when Republicans en masse opposed this law — government can’t fix prices in the private market.
They can offer subsidies, but that will result in higher taxes and higher prices for other goods and services. The government can’t hand out money without someone providing it.
What is needed is not an opposition plan of handouts but an honest discussion about the true needs, this time from both sides, and realistic reforms, not political promises and half-baked schemes.
There is a reason this is not easy and should not be one-sided. While the Democrats touted this as a big political victory, they are just now learning why there is no such thing, and while Republicans were viewed as obstructionists, the people are now siding with Republicans in opposition to this law.
It will not survive in its current form, and Democrats are now pleading with Republicans to help them fix it.
Too late. USA Today at least got it right that the current law is not politically viable.
Health care will still need to be reformed, but now it will be harder as insurance companies have been yanked in all directions to offer more expensive plans for coverage most people do not want or need.
The only issue left before the entire law is scrapped and lawmakers start working on new reforms is how many Democrats are willing to lose their seats to defend an unworkable law?
Once that number is achieved, America will finally get true health care reform.