My Turn: In healthcare debate, do all or nothing


Current plans will not work

Over the last few weeks there has been a ton of debate nationwide over healthcare. With Republicans trying to repeal and replace Obamacare and Democrats attacking the new Trumpcare plan, there seems to be little agreement.
Things are no different at the Lake Powell Chronicle. Here at the office we have had several friendly debates over the state of healthcare in this country.
Through those discussions and through a lot of thinking, I have come to a conclusion. The healthcare industry, especially health insurance, needs one of two things from the federal government. The government needs to either get out of insurance completely or pass a single-payer plan where every person is taxed and everyone is 100 percent covered.
Anything else will be a failure.
As a conservative, my preference would be to have the federal government just get out of the picture. I personally think Congress should repeal Obamacare and take itself out of the insurance world. Completely. If Congress were to do that, open up competition nationwide instead of state to state, I believe it would do a couple of things.
First, insurance companies could offer packages that meet the needs of consumers. If my 20-year-old son, who is healthy and young, wants insurance, he can buy a package that has some basic coverage — annual exams, a couple of exams for when he’s sick and maybe catastrophic coverage in case of a real emergency. But he wouldn’t need much more than that. He could choose those specific things and pay a reduced rate for minimal coverage.
When I bought insurance, I would need more coverage. With high blood pressure and diabetes as well as four younger children, I would need more options. Since my wife can no longer have babies, we wouldn’t need maternity coverage, but we would need a lot. As a result, we should and would pay more.
It’s a lot like automobile insurance. We are all required to have it, but I pay a lot less insuring my 1984 Honda Prelude than someone else does for their 2017 Chevy Camaro. Making us both pay the same is just foolish. But that’s how we want to treat health insurance.
While I would love to see the federal government pull out of healthcare completely, the reality is few politicians have the political will to do that. Since the No. 1 goal of all politicians is to get re-elected, even those who might agree with me won’t vote to pull out fully because they’re afraid of the voters.
So since that is reality, it might be time to look at single-payer, or universal, insurance. Do I think it will work? No. It really never has anywhere. But I do think it would be better than the half-ass way things are done now.
The federal government setting mandates while trying to make the private sector adjust has done nothing but drive up rates immensely. Yes, there are more people being covered, but it’s nowhere near the numbers predicted. At the same time, the cheaper insurance promised has never come close to fruition. In fact, there’s a story in today’s paper explaining in Arizona rates have jumped 300 percent.
If your company doesn’t subsidize you a ton, many working people — like myself — simply can’t afford to get insurance. I want insurance, I have had it for many years, but I can’t pay 300 percent more than I did a decade ago.
So if the government, whether Republicans or Democrats, want to control insurance, then go all the way. Anything less is ineffective. So that’s my advice — do it all or get out of the way.

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