Secretary of HHS Catherine Sibelius testified at a Congressional hearing today about the problems of ObamaCare. She said to hold her accountable for the problems of www.healthcare.gov. On Tuesday, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Marilyn Tavenner, apologized for the disastrous October 1st start of the health care exchange web site.
They do not seem that concerned about what the Republicans call a “train wreck.” In fact, Republicans were so concerned they tried unsuccessfully to repeal ObamaCare 46 times. Now many Democrats and the media are calling the roll out of ObamaCare a disaster.
Since the Affordable Care Act enactment in 2010, private insurance coverage by individuals and employers has been decreasing. This is because national mandates are increasing costs to unaffordable levels and many insurance plans do not meet the new standards. Private insurance is also decreasing because individuals are unable to access the health care exchange web site, www.healthcare.gov, because of its many “glitches.”
Many of the people who are to lose their private coverage are adding to the increasing numbers of uninsured. Others, especially those who lost their jobs or were forced to part time work, are moving to the expanded Medicaid coverage. More baby boomers are retiring, which increases the number of people in Medicare.
The trap has been set. ObamaCare is failing, private health coverage is decreasing, while the numbers of uninsured and government health care coverage is increasing. The Obama administration has been unable to fix the health care exchanges for individual coverage. They say it is because ObamaCare is so complex. There is a crisis and something must be done.
Republicans have no real ideas. The main Republican leader is Speaker of the House, John Boehner who has no coherent message. On Tuesday, he said, “It’s time to delay this. It’s time to fix this before it gets any worse.” He also said, “We want to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with patient-centered healthcare.” Which is it and where is the plan?
The main Republican replacement plan appears to be H.R. 3121. It is titled To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related reconciliation provisions, to promote patient-centered health care and has 96 cosponsors. It is not a free market health care bill. Instead, it regulates the health care market. In its Constitutional Authority Statement, it relies on the loose interpretation of the Commerce Clause in the 1944 Wickard v. Fillmore ruling by a corrupted Supreme Court.
TITLE V of this Republican bill is named, “REFORMING MEDICAL LIABILITY LAW”, and is a power grab by the national government. It allows the national government to dictate tort laws to the states. Article III, Section 8 of the Constitution gives the powers of Congress, and tort reform is not one of these. The Constitutional Authority Statement for H.R. 3121 gives no logical authority for this power grab.
Click here for further discussion on the constitutionality of national control over state judicial systems by constitutional law professor, Rob Natelson.
With ObamaCare failing and the Republicans having no constitutional plan of health care reform, the liberals are starting to agitate for a single payer system. There is still hope if Republicans come to their senses. They should propose legislation that moves us towards a free market health care system. This is defined as no federal government interference in the medical care market place.
They should start by removing the tax incentives to employers owning the health insurance policies. Disallowing a tax break for employer provided health care does this best. Giving a tax break to both individual and employer health care is a bad idea because to do this, the national government must develop a list of what is deductible health care. Also employer provided insurance is spared from FICA taxes and it would be very difficult to give individually owned health insurance this tax break.
Next, they must remove all federal mandates from individually owned health insurance. This includes mandates that preexisting illnesses be covered, that insurance policies be non-cancellable, that there be no sex discrimination, that there be no limits on deductibles, and removing all other national mandates.
In our federal system of government, it should be up to the states to create any needed mandates. Those states with the best ideas will be emulated by the other states.
In the long term, conservatives Republicans should work to obtain a free market in health care. To do this, they must end the anti savings income tax and Federal Reserve Bank. With no income tax, there is no tax incentive to employers owing the insurance policies. With more savings, people will be able to save more and with more savings, they can choose higher deductible policies. Paying for most of their health care choices will put patients and their families in control of their health care choices.
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