Affordable Care Act is a failure and should be wiped off the books entirely
The recent article, "Maryland could lose billions in federal funding if ACA is repealed" (Jan. 20), focuses on the loss of federal income if Obamacare is repealed. I think we need to step back here and look at the whole picture. Health care is not about how much money the government gets but how much benefit the people get. Let's face it. The people are not getting very much from this.
That's not to say that some people aren't helped, but the old system helped people too. The Congressional Budget Office's estimate of 20 million people being helped by the Affordable Care Act is inflated. How many of those would qualify for Medicare or Medicaid? What about the number of people priced out of the market? In 2015, 6.5 million people paid a fine averaging $470 rather than have health insurance (some $3 billion). Who can blame them? In many states, premiums have tripled since Obamacare went into effect. One couple wrote they would soon be forced to choose between paying their mortgage and eating, or paying their health insurance premium (some $1,300 a month). In fact, 17 of the original 23 state exchanges have failed.
Some people equate health insurance to car insurance. Car insurance is required for those who own and drive cars. The state requires liability insurance to protect those you injure. It is optional to protect yourself. By contrast, health insurance is not for doctors or hospitals but for individuals. If health insurance were for doctors or hospitals, it would be health liability insurance. Individuals who wanted comprehensive insurance could purchase more. Most health insurance plans never worked that way. Obamacare removed that option. When individuals are given a choice of options of healthcare, they choose what they believe they need and can afford. Lack of consumer choice limits competition and innovation, driving up prices.
The main reason Obamacare must be repealed before replaced is lack of cooperation between the political parties. Obamacare was passed without Republican support using the reconciliation process. Reconciliation gets around complicated Senate rules and secures passage with a bare majority. Republicans can repeat this process to repeal Obamacare. Democrats are attempting to derail this process by demanding a replacement plan first, even though they haven't drafted one either.
If we want true reform, we need to return back to the free market principles of consumer choice, low taxes, no mandates and minimal regulation. That's what it means to repeal Obamacare. We can phase it out over time long enough for the market to adjust and for those who need help to transition to another plan. This is the only way to get the Congress to work on the issue with enough urgency to get the job done.