By; Christine Morabito, Greater Boston Tea Party- October, 2011
In previous columns I exposed the lies and treachery that preceded the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the law we affectionately call Obamacare. Since there is virtually nothing worth saving from this piece of legislative malpractice, a powerful movement is underway to repeal and replace it.
Congress voted in favor of repeal but the effort lacked several votes in the Senate.
Until it comes up again you can visit this website to sign the repeal petition: www. repealitnow.org
Short of repeal there are, thankfully, other options. At least 12 states are considering nullifying the law, their right and their duty under the 10th Amendment, when a federal law oversteps the powers granted to Congress by the Constitution.
By forcing states to bear the burden of creating public exchanges, a case can plainly be made for federal government overreach. Here is the website to sign a nullification petition in your state: www. jbs.org/state-legislative-action-alerts Another option is for Congress to defund Obamacare. The House has already passed amendments to defund various parts of the law. U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, plans to offer an amendment to deny all funding. If no money is allocated, the law cannot be implemented. This requires a 2/3 majority in the House and Senate to withstand a veto which the president will most surely employ.
The Obama Administration recently fast-tracked the legislation to be reviewed by the Supreme Court on the grounds of its Constitutionality. This brings up a serious problem: Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. After filing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, watchdog groups Media Research Center and Judicial Watch have uncovered documents linking then solicitor general Kagan to the health care bill in its infancy, when she helped to craft a legal defense for predictable future lawsuits. Kagan has a clear and intentional conflict of interest and should, in good conscience, recuse herself from the case.
But will she?
If and when we rid ourselves of the scourge of Obamacare, how about we actually fix health care? Despite what lovers of big government will tell you, it is possible to provide a safety net, reduce costs and give people control over their health care decisions.
First, it is high time we rethink the meaning of health insurance. When we purchase home, car or flood insurance we are protecting ourselves in case of a rare catastrophe that might bankrupt us financially. These policies do not cover oil changes, batteries or light bulb replacement because these things are not rare. Imagine how much more these plans would cost if they covered routine maintenance. This is one example of how our health care system has gone horribly wrong. A case must be made for individuals having the option to choose a catastrophic plan, one without the myriad of ridiculous mandates – from hair plugs to breast reduction. The more the government forces insurance companies to cover, the more insurance will cost.
There are steps we can and must take to cut costs, but we must disavow ourselves of the notion that health care should be free. Sally C. Pipes, renowned health care and economics expert, points out in her book, “The Truth About Obamacare,” that in 2009 the average American spent $2,853 on health care, which is the same amount he spent on eating out. When put into perspective, health care spending is hardly the threat to civilization it was made out to be during the Obamacare debate. Still, our system is far from perfect.
During World War II, employers, desperate to compensate workers, began providing health care to their employees after the government instituted wage controls (much like hiking along the Iran – Iraq border, wage controls are a horrible idea). Since then, employer provided health insurance is purchased with pre-tax dollars, lessening one’s total tax burden. Those who purchase their own policy have to do so with after-tax dollars, which is hardly fair.
If we eliminate the employer from the equation, people could obtain their own insurance (with pre-tax dollars), they could shop for a plan that best suits their needs and the plan would be portable, meaning they could take it with them from job to job. Prices will drop when doctors and insurance companies compete for our business and there is transparency in pricing of services.
Medicaid, a state-run program, currently receives matching funds from the federal government. The more the state spends, the more it gets, giving them no incentive whatever to control costs, police fraud or help people become self-sufficient. If the current system were replaced with a federal block grant, it would create the aforementioned incentive. States that exceed the amount in the grant would be on the hook for the difference. There are innumerable ways to cut costs if the parties involved are so inclined. When someone else is paying the bill, we don’t care what things cost.
Exhibit A: The open bar.
Enrolling in a Health Savings Account (HSA) is an excellent way to plan for future health purchases without having to pay taxes on those contributions. Under Obamacare, allowable HSA contributions are cut in half — so much for Obamacare making health care affordable. Their reason for restricting allowable contributions is simple: If everyone enrolled in an HSA, the government would lose out on all those tax dollars – and make no mistake, they want their money. If the government was as concerned with your health care as it was about collecting taxes, we might actually get somewhere.
Not one provision in Obamacare addresses the crippling cost of malpractice insurance. When one in eight doctors is sued every year, the effects trickle down to everyone in the insurance food chain.
Until we enact tort reform, providers will continue to practice defensive medicine such as running multiple tests and hiring lawyers and administrators just to deal with the mounds of paperwork required to fend off what are often frivolous lawsuits.
We can buy virtually anything across state lines, why not health insurance? As long as states can limit our choices to just a few, insurance companies will have a monopoly, there will never be fair competition and we will always pay more. Let’s allow the free market to do what it does best – solve problems.
You are invited to our next Merrimack
Valley Tea Party meeting:
Wednesday October 19th @ 7 p.m.
VFW Hall, 32 Park Street, N. Andover