It seems like years ago – hmm, yet it was – that I was decrying the problems with Obamacare. In my mind, it was never “affordable” and it was going gnat hunting with a 30-06 rifle. In retrospect, it was President Obama and the Democratic party looking for a way to create a universal (single-payer) health care system. The result, as far as I’m concerned, was a health system that was turned on its head and accelerated costs to the nearly 90% of the population which were paying premiums (employers and their employees), plus created another “we’ll figure it out down the road” entitlement program.
In fairness, it dealt with one big issue ignored by many – the problem of how we deal with a system based on the ability to pay. If you worked for a large wealthy employer (or were in a strong union), you had a very “rich” health insurance program. If you worked for a small employer, you had no coverage, or at best, a meager plan. Then, there were the folks who couldn’t afford health insurance. Although the number of un-insured is in the millions, it represents a very SMALL part of our society. Yet, we turned the system upside down for that group.
Now, it’s the Republican’s turn to muck it up.
As a long-time user of employer-provided health insurance, and as an executive who was intimately involved with providing health coverage for thousands of individuals, I’m concerned about the Republican plan. First, millions will lose financial support and possibly coverage – regardless of “there’ll be more choice” rhetoric from Speaker Ryan. For me, this is a poor decision from a socially conscious perspective, as well as a political one. Second, pushing through the Republican plan without strong deliberation and discussion is a failure of leadership. Not the political leadership of winning at all costs, but leadership of doing what’s best for ALL Americans.
Health care for many, should not be in the prevue of the government. Yet, whether we like it or not, the government has been in that business for decades – and it’s not going to change. I understand that the horse has left the barn, but let’s not burn the barn down to prove that our way is the best. As with any problem, there are multiple solutions. Although I may be an idealist on this issue, I would like to see a comprehensive approach to fixing our health care system. Taxes. Insurance providers. Existing entitlement programs. Health care providers as well as hospitals. Repealing and/or replacing Obamacare, or ignoring the systemic issues of health care will not be in the best interest of the American public. The main question remains — does the Trump Administration or the Congressional leadership have the creativity to take on a true leadership role – or just play to its politically vocal base and just kick the ball down the road?