Republicans Still Have A Chance to Repeal Obamacare — If They Can Take It
Charlie Gerow

Gee whiz. The devil’s in the details, is it not?

Mr. Gerow is very busy in this article regurgitating right wing talking points with absolutely no data or specifics to back up his assertions. Typing words like “collapsing” and “failing” doesn’t make them accurate, unless you pair them with specific year over year metrics showing how, exactly, it is “collapsing” and “failing”.

But let’s start with some basic logic. Gerow writes:

“The Affordable Care Act never got around to becoming affordable.”

OK. So, logically, if the ACA was implemented to make care more affordable (that’s not what was promised, but we’ll get to that), logic dictates that care was unaffordable in the first place.

And that’s true. Care before the ACA was a hot mess. People in the individual market were at the tender mercies of giant health insurance companies, whose charter is to maximize investor value, not provide quality healthcare to its customers. In fact, those two goals are diametrically opposed. The more quality healthcare they pay for, the worse their value proposition becomes. They have a profit incentive to deny you care. Talk about “rationed care”!

And deny care they did. If you had a pre-existing condition, you were all but uninsurable. If you didn’t, but you developed an expensive condition while you were a customer, they found creative ways to drop your policy. When you needed care the most, your healthcare provider would routinely abandon you.

^^The type of evidence Gerow lacks in his screed^^

So, care was prohibitively expensive, it was heartlessly rationed, and if you ever really needed it, you were dropped for being too expensive to cover. Your Free Market Capitalist Healthcare System, everybody!!

The ACA was envisioned — by republicans, but let’s not quibble about who wrote what — not to decrease costs, but to “bend the cost curve”, meaning to decrease the rate of increase of the cost of healthcare. People even more detail oriented that Gerow here, who actually include metrics in their criticism of the ACA, will point to the 50% or so the average plan has increased since the ACA was implemented, but will pointedly omit the amount of increase prior to the ACA’s passing.

“In 2008, the average employer-sponsored family plan cost a total of $12,680, with employees footing $3,354 of the bill, according to Kaiser data. By 2016, the cost of the average employer family plan was up to $18,142 for the year, with workers picking up $5,277 of the tab.

These increased costs for employers and employees alike may seem steep — up around 50% over the past eight years — but they could have risen far higher had the Affordable Care Act never passed. The Kaiser study shows that average family premiums rose 20% from 2011 to 2016. That rate of increase is actually much lower than the previous five years (up 31% from 2006 to 2011) and the five years before that (up 63% from 2001 to 2006).”

So, it did what was promised.

But, according to right-wing zealots, the system has completely failed. Even though costs are rising slower now than they were, they are still rising too fast. So, all of the controls and the regulations requiring Insurers to spend a certain percentage of their income on actual care hasn’t bent the cost curve enough to get Gerow’s support.

You know what? If that were Gerow’s argument, it would be a fair criticism. But the issue he’s complaining about isn’t the ACA. It’s the concept of healthcare as a consumer product. The idea that you would shop around for the best price for your heart valve transplant the way you’d price compare for a dishwasher is absurd. People in car accidents don’t get to choose hospitals based on consumer drivers. Healthcare isn’t a discretionary consumable. You can’t choose to not participate in the market. Well, you can, but you’ll die.

So, given that healthcare is obviously and provably NOT a voluntary marketplace, it is not a free market. It is a captured market of 100% of the population. Again, logic.

And just like air, or water, anything that everyone needs to survive isn’t a free market. It’s a public good. And as a public good, it should be socialized.

Gerow should welcome this. He should be stoked about it. Quantum Communications, Gerow’s company, is a huge organization with a staggering health insurance bill. A universal single-payer health system would remove those costs from his books in one stroke. His company is immediately more profitable, and his shareholders happier as a result. Who wouldn’t jump at that?

Well, Gerow, apparently. Which is what happens when you allow your ideology to cloud your business acumen.

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