Jan 04 2011

Obamacare First On The Chopping Block

Published by at 8:27 am under All General Discussions,Obamacare

01/12/11 is going to be an interesting date for America. It will be on this day (next Wednesday) that the GOP led House will have a vote on repealing Obamacare.

House Republicans have set Jan. 12 as their day to vote on a repeal of President Obama’s health-care law, after a midterm election in which they campaigned against the landmark legislation as a government takeover of the health industry.

Everyone knows the bill will not pass in its entirety. The liberal Dems were so obsessed with their madness they gladly committed political suicide to achieve their life long fantasy of government run health care. They will gladly stand in the way of this effort as well. With Obama in the White House and Reid running the Senate there is little chance this vote can succeed legislatively and roll back Obamacare and the damage it is already doing to health care plans.

But politically it will be enormous. It will be a test vote to see if the GOP is in sync with the people of America – especially the center. Recall that Obamacare was passed on hyperpartisan votes with no GOP support and a good number of centrist Democrat defections. The irony of Obamacare was that bipartisanship existed in opposing the government take over of our private health care.

If this vote produces huge bipartisan majority in the house, and support for repeal remains the preferred position of the American people, then the GOP will have shown to be on a course acceptable to the majority of voters:

For the second time this month, 60% of Likely Voters at least somewhat favor repeal of the national health care law, while the number who expect health care costs to increase is at its highest level since August.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 49% Strongly Favor repeal of the plan. Thirty-eight percent (38%) oppose the law’s repeal, including 29% who Strongly Oppose repeal.

This will set the stage for later votes on pieces of Obamacare which could easily survive. For example, the Medicare prescription drug change to close the donut hole and require high income seniors to pay more for their drugs is fine with me and most people. And I think insurance companies should never reject anyone for pre-existing conditions. They should offer someone with a costly condition a fair premium price (meaning it will be higher than for those without any serious conditions), but they cannot reject them. Same with throwing people off insurance while being treated for an expensive condition. There could be a reasonable rate increase over time, if there is proof the individual did not pay into health care pools when they were healthy.

Because that is the rub in health care costs vs premiums. If you have been covered during most of your life you have paid into the pool (it does not matter that you did not pay into a specific company’s pool, because which pool has been dictated by where you work). As long as a sufficient number of people pay in over a sufficient period of time when they are generally healthy, the pool of money will cover those few facing costly treatments. So premiums need to reflect not only your condition, but your history of paying your part into the pool.

This does not imply health care should become social security or medicare (the lame liberal solution). It simply means rate increases are capped based on your life time history of participating in health insurance.

And to make sure there is a sufficient pool for the needy each year, there needs to be limits on needless or useless costs for the healthy. We cannot eliminate screening, but maybe we can do it more efficiently. It would seem two of the biggest drains on the health care dollar pool is frivolous law suits and frivolous paperwork from the inept federal government. Coming in third would be fraudulent claims.

So there is a lot that could be done to eliminate Obamacare and put in its place a small number of focused regulations that require the free market to treat people humanely, and in return government can reduce the unnecessary burdens of lawsuits and paperwork, while policing abuses. At least it is a better step than an approach that begins with millions of people getting waivers so they don’t lose their health care or high risk plans no one wants and which are too costly the first year they are tried. Obamacare is a failure already. After this vote, hearings on what to salvage (and how) could gain wide public support.

But the GOP does need to remember – the number one priority above starving out Obamacare is jobs. Yes, they are tied together – especially for those of us in small businesses. But it is not sufficiently linked to warrant obsessing about it. This is a two year window to turn the ship of state and swing public support behind a new libertarian direction. The GOP still has to win that support – they did not get a mandate to be just as arrogant as the liberals were in the last Congress.

Update: More on this at Hot Air

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Obamacare First On The Chopping Block”

  1. lurker9876 says:

    One trick is to respond to the Dem’s arguments with the GOP’s new Health Care reform that satisfies all of their arguments and win. Even Obama will have a hard time vetoing the new reform bills. He won’t have a problem vetoing the repeal but not most of the GOP reforms and replacement of ObamaCare.

    Repeal, reform, and replace ObamaCare.

    Honestly, if the Tea Party wants to prevent re-election of Obama, they need to include the advertisements of Obama’s comments about Muslims even if the economy improves.

    I see in this morning’s Houston Chronicle that 16 deep sea oil drilling permits have finally been approved. These are the ones that applied before the BP accident.

  2. OregonGuy says:

    Get used to the next two years; Democrats decrying Republicans for abandoning the poor, the children, our seniors, education, the environment, our future energy needs (Green Technology) and ignoring the advice of our best and brightest (Leftists).

    Conservatives/Libertarians are gun-clinging, bible-toting idiots. Anti-science and unwilling to take the advice of people who have college degrees.

    Two years.

  3. lurker9876 says:

    OregonGuy, you’re right that the Republicans should be prepared and ready with their own responses in advance.

  4. WWS says:

    “And I think insurance companies should never reject anyone for pre-existing conditions.”

    I am continually surprised that so many people fail to understand why a provision like this is GUARANTEED to bankrupt ANY private insurance company which is forced to implement it, no matter what premiums are charged.

    Consider this very likely example: A man in his 50’s has no insurance. He smokes, he drinks, he doesn’t eat right. He begins to feel the tell tale signs of a heart attack. If he cannot be turned down, what is to stop him from signing up for insurance the day before he goes in for a $50,000 bypass operation? THAT is where the entire scheme breaks down! It doesn’t matter WHAT premium he is charged – $500, $1000, $2000 – since he can quit paying as soon as his operation is over, it is a great deal for him as long as it is less than the $50K surgery cost.

    I don’t know the answer – state run high risk pools are the only thing I’ve seen that comes close to answering the need. But they are expensive and require massive state subsidies to stay viable.

    It’s a hard situation with no good answers, so all we can do is find a bad answer that we can live with.

  5. lurker9876 says:

    I don’t think this person should live through his life without paying for insurance but if he did all his adult life and get sick with a chronic disease, then change jobs, he should be able to stay with his insurance somehow.

    Somehow I blame many (not all) cases of chronic disease to the society’s pressures, such as propaganda that smoking is good (remember the old ads and hollywood stars with a cig in their hands back in the old days?), advertisements on processed foods, soda, and so on.

  6. archtop says:

    “I am continually surprised that so many people fail to understand why a provision like this is GUARANTEED to bankrupt ANY private insurance company which is forced to implement it, no matter what premiums are charged.”

    I believe this is the intention of the current administration in order to pave the way for “single payer” (i.e. government) healthcare system.

  7. AJStrata says:

    WWS, my point about pre-existing is you should always get a policy, not that it will be cheap. And of course, there will be a minimal payment duration, high deductibles, etc.

  8. WWS says:

    how can one enforce minimum payment duration? Especially since post surgery patients are very likely to be unemployed. And what happens when the unemployed, broke man with high deductibles simply defaults on his co-payments? Which he absolutely will do.

    When someone stops making car payments, you can repo the car. You can’t repo a triple bypass. Now, you can set up a government reimbursement system for the private ins. co’s that get stiffed, but it would be easier to just have a government entity provide the subsidized default level insurance from the start.

    This is why forcing private companies to take business they don’t want guarantees their bankruptcy, unless they themselves are subsidized with public funds.

    This is what is happening with RomneyCare in Massachusetts.

  9. gwood says:

    To require that an insurance company “cover” a pre-existing condition isn’t insurance at all. Insurance exists for prudent people to protect assets by insuring an event that might occur. To require a company to pay for something they should have no obligation to pay is theft. In the end, those who were smart enough to insure themselves will pay for those who didn’t. Still theft.

    If you bleed for these people, and feel you must do something to help them, you must understand that if you are not careful you will only create more people who don’t feel the need to buy insurance.

    The most we should do is provide them a loan. It is important that the patient, and if need be, other relatives of the patient, be obligated to repay. The whole thing should be outside the insurance sphere, because it’s not insurance at all. Set up a Fannie-Mae type entity to make these loans, but enable people to have some sense of dignity by paying the loan back.

  10. stevevvs says:

    My Mother has a very large Meningioma Brain Tumor. I told her, thank god you have it now, and not 2 years from now when the Obama Care kicks in.

    She got in to the Mayo Clinic very quickly, and they have surgery scheduled for the 24th. Two years from now, I’d wonder if she’d even be able to get surgery.

    But her Doctors should have seen this in 2007. The folks at Mayo were looking at her older MRI’s and Cat Scans from then, and they see it, yet the Doctors she’s seen since then just noticed it last week.

    Good Post AJ!

  11. AJStrata says:

    stevevvs – our prayers are with your mom and your family. Hope everything works out well.

    And if you want to know who really is impacted if Obamacare survives – look in the mirror. Your mother can survive these incidents now when it was the kiss of death a few decades ago.

    All thanks to real science and a market based incentive to find cures. It is the new treatment causing the cost spike. It will settle out (just as all new and popular/needed technologies drop in cost over time). But Obamacare could be the noose around the inventiveness of US medical industry and science