When Obamacare first took effect, I was not a fan. I love my insurance, and I didn’t want to lose it. Thankfully, I have a plan through work and my coverage wasn’t affected greatly, other than an increase in cost of course. However, I had several friends who were greatly affected. While the ACA says there are now 20-24 million fewer people uninsured, I knew of several who lost their plans because of the ACA’s minimum requirements. They couldn’t afford everything that had to be offered on a minimum plan and therefore lost their coverage.
When Trump was elected, I was hopeful that a Republican president and a Republican congress would be able to hammer out a better policy that would allow those who gained insurance to keep it, but allow those who lost it to return to their old plans.
But Congress mucked it up yet again.
Now, I’ll admit that I’m not in politics and maybe there are some things behind the scene that I don’t know about, but here’s my common sense thought on reforming Health Care.
- Don’t tax people who don’t have it. I get it, the point was to make sure they had insurance so if they got really sick they would be covered, but the majority of people who don’t have insurance don’t have it because they can’t afford it. Penalizing them with a fine won’t help that – it just takes more money out of their pockets to not be able to afford insurance. How about instead, we offer an incentive to have insurance? Maybe a tax break or something. This is the first year I’ve had to pay when tax time rolls around, and I’m not enjoying it. Maybe an incentive would have lowered what I owe.
- Don’t penalize employers who have more than 50 employees and don’t offer insurance. Now, I know some big companies were trying to pocket money and avoid offering coverage, but smaller companies can’t often afford to pay healthcare on top of their employees’ wages, at least in the beginning. This mandate led to many people having their hours cut or being laid off, again taking money out of their pocket and making them unable to fund their own healthcare.
- Cut down on the list of essential care. According to the ACA, these are the minimum requirements that every plan must have: “ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care” and others. Yes, most of these are important and necessary, but does everyone need maternity and newborn care? According to the ACA, even men have to pay for these services though they will never use them, as do 90 year old women who are well past child birthing age. This is ridiculous and causes the premiums to go up. Everyone also has to cover pediatric services whether they have children or not. Many companies had to stop offering plans because they couldn’t afford to offer one that covered all these things, which is why a lot of people lost their insurance. This seems ridiculous to me. Yes, I agree some basic care options should be mandatory, but not things you will never use. This is basically the same as forcing people to buy car insurance who don’t even have a license to drive. Having the option to cut out these two provisions would decrease the price of a lot of plans.
- Open up the market across state lines. Everyone talks about this, but no one does it. Companies in Texas can sometimes charge less than companies in New York or New Jersey. (I use to sell auto insurance and was amazed how much it costs in New Jersey.) If we open up the market across state lines, companies will be forced to either lower their price or shut down. As I think most of them are making a healthy profit, they could afford to lower their prices to be competitive.
- Stop tying it to everything else. I’m so tired of Congress’s bills being 700-800 pages that none of them bother to read because they are linked to ten or twelve other things. Make healthcare about healthcare and make it simple and easy to read and follow.
Maybe this wouldn’t solve all the problems of our healthcare system, but it sure would be a start.
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