I am very frustrated by the outright lies the Democrats are trying to spread about the impending repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Actually, the name “Affordable Care Act” is a misnomer. To most people who know better, the “reform” law, with its 2,500+ pages of economy-strangling regulations is more accurately known as the “Unaffordable Care Act.” I’ve seen this moniker cited by several people whose Facebook and Twitter pages I frequent.
Let’s Get Real
The Democrats’ new slogan about the likely repeal and replacement of Obamacare is “Trump wants to make America sick again.” Apparently Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) engaged in a strategy session with President Barack Obama in the first week of the year.
According to a Jan. 4 article by the Washington Post, “Democrats: Trump Will Make America Sick Again,” a memo that came out of this strategy session partially reads as follows.
“Instead of fulfilling their promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are going to make America sick again by offering no health care plan to the American people and actually dismantling Medicare, Medicaid, as well as the ACA.”
Although I will get back to the lie about the lack of a replacement health care plan, I am going to discuss the Democrats’ clinging protection of a crumbling Medicare and Medicaid system.
Let’s actually start with Medicaid, which is basically health care coverage for people with low-incomes. The scary truth is that states that are attempting to expand Medicaid under the rules of the ACA are finding that they face huge cost overruns.
For example, Arkansas is one of the states participating in Medicaid expansion, according to an Oct. 5, 2016 article entitled “Rising Cost of Medicaid Expansion Is Unnerving Some States,” written by Christina A. Cassidy on the Associated Press website. The article states that Arkansas has received 307,000 signups for the Medicaid expansion, which exceeds the projected 250,000. So the state is asking the federal government, which has been providing 100 percent of the costs for the expansion, for permission to charge some Medicaid recipients a premium for their coverage.
The same article states that Kentucky, another expansion state, has enrolled approximately 400,000 residents in Medicaid under the expansion. That state has budgeted $257 million for the fiscal years of 2017 and 2018, which far exceeds the original estimate of $107 million.
Creativity At Work
These are only a couple of examples of the budgetary havoc experienced by states that have expanded Medicaid based on the same old way of providing government coverage. However, there are bright spots of innovation that have the potential to actually provide needed health care for low-income people without busting a state’s budget or further inflating the national debt.
One of these bright spots include Healthy Indiana 2.0 (the latest version of the Healthy Indiana Plan), which utilizes Health Savings Accounts with contributions from the state as well as catastrophic insurance to cover for large medical expenses that cannot be anticipated. This program is already being used in Indiana. Another innovative proposal for covering the poor is being considered in New Jersey. This plan would incentivize physicians to work as volunteers in community clinics in exchange for state coverage for medical malpractice. This plan intends to provide primary care, and even psychiatric care, to low-income New Jersey residents at no cost to the residents, and has the potential to keep these residents healthy enough that the emergency room is very rarely needed.
Yes, there are great ideas out there for helping the poor receive health care, so any repeal of Obamacare does NOT mean that the poor would have the “rug pulled out from them.” I know that, as a conservative woman, I do not want to see anyone deprived of the medical treatment they need because of their inability to pay, but I feel that there are better ways of providing that care without increasing the national debt beyond sustainability or curtailing the free choices of American citizens because of “one-size-fits-all” government-controlled “health care.”
In the next few blogs, I will discuss some of these innovations at length.