Obamacare has failed. It has added cost and bureaucracy to our health care while failing to meet its goals in signing up uninsured Americans for private health insurance. It has reduced the number of uninsured at great cost primarily by dramatically expanding Medicaid. According to the Heritage Foundation, 71% of the increase in those having insurance was attributable to the 25 states and DC that adopted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.
Obamacare will eventually collapse under its own bureaucratic weight and faulty assumptions about private sector insurance sign ups under the Exchanges as well as dramatically underestimating what the plans will cost consumers. The question: What replaces it?
Liberals will continue their piecemeal push for a single-payer, government run system. Conservatives must continue with a more persuasive and aggressive push for market-based health care that puts doctors and patients at the center and gets insurance companies and government back on the periphery.
CSP believes the most important steps in the post-Obamacare world will be:
- Refundable tax credits to end the unfairness in the current tax code and allow more Americans to buy the insurance they want
- Expand Health Savings Accounts
- Allow purchases of health insurance across state lines
- Permit Association Health Plans, so small businesses and fraternal associations can band together to get the same insurance discounts as large corporations
- Stop abusive health care lawsuits
- Reform and save Medicaid and Medicare
Most of these ideas are familiar conservative reforms to the health care system. However, significant political capital and leadership from a newly elected Republican President in 2017 will be required to make any of this happen. Liberal politicians pining for single-payer and large corporate interests vested in the current system will fight hard to keep Obamacare, slightly modified, in place. Conservative reformers will need engaged, informed citizens working with them to defeat DC politics as usual.