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What Obamacare Repeal Means for the Future of Healthcare

Robert Dimuro

Posted on July 12, 2017 14:00

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It is all but certain that Obamacare will be repealed at some point this year, but what will be the legacy of American healthcare in the long-term?

Republicans in Congress have an obligation to their voters and President Trump to repeal and replace Obamacare within the coming weeks. Republicans have brought many different replacement ideas to the table; but as much as Republicans want to convince us that their ideas are the answers to healthcare reform, Republicans themselves have yet to agree on a bill containing all of their ideas.

The problem for Republicans is that in their struggle to formulate a bill that meets budgetary and coverage concerns, they are missing the big picture. Their success or failure will not hinge upon the nuts and bolts of the bill they’ll eventually pass. Republicans will only succeed in the healthcare battle if they unify against the measures that sank the healthcare industry long before Obamacare was enacted in 2010.

Republican rhetoric is part of the problem, as they promise that nobody will lose their coverage or be denied coverage because of preexisting conditions. As a result, the cost-lowering, choice-creating reforms that Republicans also promise are illusory. That is, as more people are covered for more things, the cost of insurance increases and choice of coverage decreases.

Instead of fixating on not reducing coverage, Republicans should be focused on the underlying reason why people pay so much for healthcare without being able to choose their coverage or doctor. The reason is simple: overutilization of the healthcare system brought on by government overreach. In other words, there is too much demand for medical care in America.

As demand for a product or service increases, its price increases. In the healthcare industry, demand is artificially inflated to a level that the free market would not dictate. This is because health insurance is used as the sole medium of transaction between a patient, doctor and pharmacist. Since patients pay the premiums for these plans upfront, they visit the doctor excessively. Since waiting rooms are overflowing, the costs of doctors’ visits and treatments remain excessively high, which result in the high premiums and deductibles we complain about today.

The reason why health insurance is so massively comprehensive is that it’s provided through the employer, which ultimately needs to end. The tax code is structured such that health insurance provided through one’s employer is tax exempt while health insurance purchased independently is not. This has led to a system in which employers compete to offer the most comprehensive healthcare plans possible.

In order for healthcare to ever be an affordable and thriving industry, this framework must be dismantled; yet Republicans have failed to articulate these points as they’ve long ago accepted the liberal narrative necessitating that we all pay for each other’s medical care collectively.

As long as this continues to be the case, the coming Obamacare repeal will mean very little. Obamacare is part of an ongoing push towards socialized medicine that will never be reversed if the core principle of healthcare as a right continues to resonate with citizens and lawmakers.  

Robert Dimuro

Posted on July 12, 2017 14:00

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