Healthcare, like any good or service with a limited supply, in an efficient “free market” is rationed based on the capacity and willingness of consumers to spend money on healthcare. Because money is the basic unit of the economy, the mechanisms of an efficient free market must either increase the cost of healthcare in the face of a limited supply or translate robust demand into cost-cutting competition and/or cost-cutting innovations. Unfortunately, the innovations, which allowed radical advancements modern medicine, also make modern medicine very expensive to deliver. As an unnecessary necessity, demand for healthcare will almost always outpace supply, especially when more people have the means to access healthcare, so competition alone is not enough to drive down prices in the healthcare field.
This means “free market” modern medicine is expected to be priced at the same level as luxury goods and services, which modern medicine, truly is priced above anything average consumers would, or could, buy without health insurance. Fortunately, mechanisms, such as health insurance, were devised. Not only has health insurance made modern medicine accessible to average consumers, instead of providing wealthy consumers sightly better medicine, it has helped change how the healthcare market works by refining efficiency in terms of access to healthcare, instead of money. Because a critical mass of the population has had access healthcare, healthcare has become a well-funded commodity capable of spurring cost-cutting innovation. Regrettably, health insurance has grown cost prohibitive for individuals and businesses, which is an issue efforts like the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a Obama and, now, the American Health Care Act seek to address.
After a year of politically-motivated obstructionism and toxic debate, Obamacare became law in early 2010 with the aid of procedural maneuvering. Not only has Obamacare remained a constant source of political drama since its inception, it has also radically altered the landscape of the healthcare and health insurance markets. It has grown the socialist elements of America’s hybrid health insurance market, e.g. Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, and TRICARE, by expanding the massive role government funding already plays in healthcare. This has made insurers healthcare providers so dependent on government that shifts will have a dramatic effect on the entire industry. Not only has Medicaid been expanded, but generous tax credits have been used to make health insurance affordable for millions of Americans. Obamacare’s shortcomings and failure to address a number of issues in the healthcare market have always made additional healthcare reform necessarily.
After years of obstructionism under President Obama, Republicans have risen to the occasion by drafting the American Health Care Act. Because the proposed legislation drops the individual and business mandates, which were suppose to help ensure people get insurance, while prohibiting insurers from denying coverage based on preconditions, criticism from the healthcare and health insurance industries is guaranteed. Because the legislation guts Medicaid expansion, criticism is guaranteed from both the healthcare industry and advocate. That said, efficiency in healthcare means efficiently delivering effective healthcare to as many people who need it as possible, not denying care to those who cannot afford it and lowering health insurance costs to those who already have access to healthcare. The tax credit scheme used by the American Healthcare Act appears to offer greater benefits to higher income families while cutting benefits to lower income families and the elderly, who generally require greater care, i.g. it revives the rationing of care based on cost.
The American Health Care Act also seeks to reintroduce “free market” principles into the health insurance market by removing the essential health benefits Obamacare mandated insurers provide in every policy. Although this allows people to buy so-called catastrophic coverage, which only covers emergency care, the removal of standards also opens the market to junk insurance. Low cost healthcare plans that cover few healthcare services and/or require premiums so high coverage cannot be utilized to access healthcare simply enrich unscrupulous insurers at the expense of those without real choices. The existence of government means government always plays a role in the economy. The role of the government is to regulate markets to ensure the broad interests of the Nation are served and to foster constructive competition that improves the quality of products and services. The American Health Care Act appears to foster lowered prices via lower quality by undermining the role of government in the healthcare market.
Governments of the modern age exist to serve their Peoples. It is, therefore, the responsibility of government to protect citizens from threats to their lives, health, and overall wellbeing. It is also the responsible of government to provide for the general welfare of the People by ensuring individuals can provide for their own needs. Defining proper governance with limits on government is, however, essential in order to prevent government overreach and oppression. Ensuring access to affordable and effective healthcare is a responsibility of government, because it the responsibility of government to provide for the general welfare of the People. Unfortunately, Republicans are poised to upset the health insurance industry with a massive injection of uncertainty, which is certain to upset the broader healthcare sector and imperil the healthcare of millions.
Read old posts