We all know that health care costs are on the rise. They have been for years. The questions are “Why?” and “What role should the federal government play, if any, in addressing this problem?”
We would contend one answer to the first question (“Why?”) is because of government regulation. Example, the administrative/paperwork burden placed on doctors/hospitals dealing with Medicare patients is horrendous. Whenever government implements a new regulation there is a private sector cost associated with it. That cost is passed on to us.
It is clear that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is having the opposite effect from what we were told. Because it is attempting to add up to 50 million new beneficiaries (patients) who don’t have the wherewithal to pay the premiums covering the costs of the services provided it means that the government (e.g., American taxpayers) will need to chip in subsidies to make up the difference.
The problem is we don’t have the money, so we will be forced to borrow it from places like China. This vicious cycle puts our nation deeper and deeper into debt. As a result the estimated costs of this entitlement program have skyrocketed while doing nothing to lower health care costs for the average person.
As mentioned last week, it also means the administration’s promise — to millions of Americans who already have health plans they like — will not be kept. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., made it clear last week his goal is to have only one option for all of us, government health care! That is also the President’s ultimate goal. As this is becoming clearer, labor unions like the Teamsters and others are opposing ObamaCare.
The bottom line is health care will continue to be unaffordable and its costs will continue to rise if ObamaCare is allowed to continue. That said, we are tired of people “bashing” this program without having any alternatives.
The second question we posed was “What role, if any, should the federal government have in addressing this problem?”We believe there is a role for the government, one that dovetails with the Constitution. Here are some suggestions for legislative action:
• First repeal ObamaCare, which we discussed in last week’s column.
• Second, allow health insurance policies to be sold regionally (across state lines). When you increase the number of policy holders you spread out the liability and costs, thereby reducing the policy costs for each participant. The federal government has the authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to do this and should allow health insurance policies to be sold nationwide.
• Third, limit the awards from malpractice suits and, where such suits are frivolous, mandate that the party bringing the suit pays all legal fees, including those of the defendant if he/she loses the case. When you limit the awards for malpractice suits you reduce the insurance costs to doctors and hospitals. This, in turn, reduces the overall cost of health services to us.
We are sure there are other things that can be done, short of creating more entitlement programs and more debt, but space limitations require that we save them for another day.