The cost savings that were promised when the Affordable Health Care Act was passed a decade ago still aren’t there for many Americans. Neither are the promises to millions of Americans who were supposed to be able to “keep your doctor” and “keep your health insurance.”
Time has proven that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — also known as Obamacare — has not been affordable for many families. It has cost some families tens of thousands of dollars annually when including annual premiums and deductibles.
To make matters worse, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last summer proposed a new ACA expansion bill (H.R. 1425). In short, the bill that passed the House would expand more subsidy programs and increase Medicaid funding — with no guarantees that any of the ACA’s problems will get fixed.
That’s because the system developed by the ACA does not work. It results in insurance rate jumps for those who have to pay for coverage out of pocket. Thankfully, the legislation has little chance of passing the Senate.
But even more concerning is many Democrats prefer to enact Medicare for All — a bill they have co-sponsored in the House to initiate a takeover of the nation’s health care system. Economists estimate Medicare for All would cost somewhere between $30 trillion and $40 trillion over 10 years. Even most Democrats acknowledge it will be at least $32 trillion.
So how much money is that? Including interest, the fact checker, PolitiFact estimates the U.S. federal budget would consume about $55 trillion between now and 2030. That means for all the bloated expenditures taking place, Medicare for All would add more than 75% of the current budget’s size to it. Can you imagine how much more the government would have to tax people to generate that much revenue?
At times like these, it seems like politicians have lost touch with reality. These programs — while filled with good intentions — are impractical because of size and cost. Plus, with government controls that would come with Medicare for All, there would be price fixing because the government would be in control of so many aspects of health care. That always leads to reduced innovation. With such things as COVID-19 rates reportedly increasing, can Americans afford fewer medical breakthroughs?
What we need instead is to get both Democrats and Republicans working together on solutions. Many in Congress from both sides have argued that they can improve health care access and reduce drug costs if they can get both sides talking.
Instead of one big solution that is so grandiose it can’t support itself, let’s try to tackle parts of health care that can be fixed. Small steps are better than no steps or impossible steps.
* * *
Coming Thursday: What’s ahead for the economy.