It’s time Republicans stop thinking so narrowly on health care.
Not only do they refuse to fully repeal Obamacare, they are offering us a false dichotomy between doing nothing and passing a fake repeal that accelerates the death spiral without creating an alternative to the insurance cartel, and irretrievably sets into motion a perpetual need for bailouts. It’s all about the insurance companies now, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
We stand at a crossroads in dealing with the most important sector of our economy and the linchpin to our freedom and prosperity. Republicans have a unique opportunity to not only repeal Obamacare but to offer a vision that addresses the root of the health care problem: that government and the insurance cartel have cut the consumer out of the process, preventing health care from working like a real market – with all the competition, innovation, quality delivery, and choices associated with it.
Over the past week, we have posted several articles and podcasts (here and here) explaining why health care is so convoluted, who is at fault, and how it can be fixed. Yet, Republicans can’t seem to talk for two minutes about their beliefs on health care other than passing a blank bill with the word health care stuck in it. Ironically, health care is the one thing nobody is discussing. Everyone is discussing health insurance but failing to address why the price of health care is so over-inflated.
This system of third- and fourth-party payment for health care is unsustainable. All of the public and private funds are being sucked into the administration of government and cartel price fixing rather than the delivery of care. There’s a reason why the highest earners in health care are not the M.D.s, but the insurance cartel administrators. We are going to get single-payer either way. The question is if it’s going to be single-payer government takeover of health care or true free-market single-payer (i.e. the consumer pays the provider directly).
At present, the reason we have third- and fourth-party payments is because the cost of health care is supposedly too expensive for consumers to pay directly. But the reason why most health care is so expensive is precisely because of government interference and the insurance cartel, which has been given a monopoly to price-fix health care, thanks to tendentious treatment from the government.
It’s time Republicans offer a vision for fixing the health care problem, placing the consumer back in the driver’s seat, and cutting out the insurance cartel from government favors. This is a more compelling message than directly repealing Obamacare, would be more effective than repealing Obamacare, and offer us the only path to alleviating the epidemic of government dependency. Ultimately, it would make Obamacare, which deals with insurance, moot.
Rather than trying to fix the insurance cartel, it’s time to leave them in the dust and reduce the price of health care itself. It’s time to get the government out of any third- or fourth-party payer scheme and to stop manipulating statutes, subsidies, and the tax code in order to line the pockets of third-party payers.
Here are some guiding principles on true health care reform:
- Health care is not medical insurance
- The cost of health care should be solved before the cost of insurance
- Medical insurance, the way it’s currently constituted and propped up by government favors, is not the solution, it’s the problem and self-perpetuates a need for the cartel
- We should seek to eliminate all government influence that has led to third- and fourth-party payer and put the doctor and the patient back in the driver’s seat
- By fixing health care first and dealing with the “private” sector before the government dependency, we will reduce costs and make reforming Medicaid and Medicare a no-brainer
- The best way to offer a hand out is to give a direct handout – to empower the poor consumers to pay their bills directly rather than creating a market-distorting government program or lining the pockets of the venture socialist insurance cartel to administer a convoluted third-party program.
- Aside from the original sin of third-party payer, we must identify every area where government regulations or interventions inflate the cost of health care on the supply side
Were these principles to be followed, much of the impasse over Obamacare and the insurance issue would become moot and could even open the door for some bipartisan work.
As I laid out last week, Republicans could go along with fake repeal or no repeal, provided that they add two provisions: 1) a price transparency law on health care providers to end price fixing and bill the patient directly and 2) allowing any new health sharing association to form in order to replace insurance and grant them the same tax benefits through the individual and employer tax scheme as the insurance cartel has enjoyed for 60 years.