For those keeping score at home, here’s a recap of where the Washington healthcare debacle currently stands:
- Obama and the Democrats inflict a massively overcomplicated system of healthcare regulations that raised insurance premiums on Americans, decreased insurance options, dictated doctors and coverage, and largely just sucked.
- Republicans saddled up the Obamacare nightmare and rode it to the electoral bank in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016, promising that once they had full control, they would repeal the beast.
- When given full control, the Republicans authored an absurd Obamacare-lite compromise bill that didn’t repeal the beast, but attempted to manicure it. It failed spectacularly.
- Republican Congressional leadership is now in disarray.
- President Trump is reverting to his Democrat roots threatening to cut a deal with liberals on healthcare.
- The most plausible scenario at this point is for the issue to be abandoned and left in its current, unsustainable state.
Democrats will claim victory, Republicans will blame each other, Trump will triangulate to make it seem as though he got from this exactly what he wanted all along or that this is all part of his infinitely genius grand master scheme that no one can fully understand yet.
And Americans get screwed. In other words, typical Washington.
There is a better way, however. And it is being pushed by the very guy who stated repeatedly throughout the primaries that he actually had a plan for ending the Obamacare nightmare: Ted Cruz.
I gladly admit that I am not a policy wonk. But all that is needed is a modicum of common sense to recognize that many of the problems Obama highlighted in pushing Obamacare are indeed real problems.
It is not right that your co-worker with employee-based insurance, who develops cancer, loses his job because of a recession thus losing his insurance, and then is not able to buy health insurance on the open market because of his “pre-existing condition.” That’s absurd and wrong.
The Obama solution was to force insurance companies to accept anyone with a pre-existing condition. Obviously this is not going to work because people won’t buy insurance until they get sick and need someone else to pay their expensive bills. So to solve that dilemma, Obama ordered that all people buy health insurance whether they want it or not. Forcing people to buy it ostensibly allows insurance companies to make the money they need to cover all these pre-existing condition patients.
It’s heavy-handed government planning and despite its good intentions, it’s not working. So here’s the Cruz idea in a nutshell:
- First, repeal Obamacare entirely. One simple law that ends it, perhaps with the stipulation that some of its provisions be phased out rather than abruptly halted. The phasing must be complete by the end of Trump’s first term, however, or you are inviting disaster.
- Mandate insurance be portable, meaning it isn’t tied to your employment. If you lose your job, you don’t lose your health insurance. You have the ability to continue the coverage without interruption as you find new work.
- Mandate insurance be continuous and renewable, meaning insurance companies are not allowed to jack up your rates or costs because you get sick – that defeats the whole purpose of insurance. If you have been paying a rate for your coverage, but then get very sick, you must be allowed to renew your insurance at the same premium you’ve been paying. This rewards and encourages responsibility.
- Open up the insurance market across state lines – competition will decrease costs as it always does.
- Allow people to buy low-cost catastrophic coverage, including the use of health savings accounts.
This is the way forward and it can be done with full Republican support in Congress if leadership would leave their pride behind and get to work. Never mind your feelings and passions about whether Cruz would have been a better choice than Trump, whether he could have beaten Hillary, or any of that. It doesn’t matter.
What does matter is the American people deserve a better healthcare system, Washington seems content with letting them suffer with the one we’ve been given, and Cruz is offering a great idea that deserves support.
Forget your partisanship, forget your frustrations, forget your allegiances and political alliances, and think about your family. This is too important a moment to let pass by.