By editorial board • 

Time to expose GOP blinders on universal health care coverage

The United States’ founding document deemed “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” inalienable rights. 

Former president Barack Obama must have had this in mind as he sought to reform the nation’s health care system in order to extend coverage to more Americans. After all, how can one live free and happy when crucial family medical treatment is out of all reasonable reach?

If you or a loved one develops cancer, should the choice be filing for bankruptcy or doing without? And that’s not just a hypothetical question, mind you, as medical debt has become the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy in the United States.

While Obama’s Affordable Care Act did succeed in vastly increasing the percentage of insured Americans, it has failed to adequately curb rising health care costs, served to further complicate an already byzantine system and forced some people formerly covered by employer plans into the exchange market.

Those failings made possible a golden opportunity for President Donald Trump and his GOP supporters to come to the rescue, applying selective fixes without destroying underlying promise. But it is being squandered on the altar of mindless ideology.

The Congressional Budget Office just released its analysis of the latest GOP reform effort Wednesday, and it isn’t pretty. TrumpCare 2.0 would cut off 14 million Americans in the short run and 23 million in the longer run, according to the office’s non-partisan analysis.

And that’s really just the beginning of the devastation the bill would cause, according to the report. It appears no amount of wrangling by Senate Republicans can turn the plan into anything possibly passing for progress. 

If only Trump would listen to himself. That is, the “himself” who has previously advocated a universal health care system in America. 

ObamaCare set the stage for a system where all Americans were guaranteed at least a very basic level of care; no longer just a dream of those on the left. More and more conservatives and libertarians are acknowledging a necessity to overhaul and expand America’s archaic health care system. Systems exist around the world that balance health coverage for all, economic freedom and a thriving private insurance industry.

The U.S. stands alone among developed nations in lacking universal coverage, despite being one of the biggest spenders. That’s a lose-lose situation, and the national GOP now seems intent on making it substantially worse.

The dominoes are in place. All it would take is a push from the president to set off a chain reaction of real, positive change for health care in America.

Comments

gophergrabber

I take it the EB is satisfied with Obamacare. Not really a good decision.

kona

There is no solution to making health care less expensive in the United States. Are we going to force health care providers/employees to charge less? That is like asking the teachers unions to have their members take only a one percent pay increase.

Horse with no name

Let's see the gophergrabber comment confirms a lack of ability to comprehend the EB article. The kona comment is empirical proof of blinders firmly in place. "There is no solution...", true statement if you are incapable of observing and/or comprehending solutions that are possible.

Richard Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism in American Life is alive and well in a select section of NR's readership.

Not only are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness inalienable rights, but I would also suggest the General Welfare Clause as found in Article I, section 8, clause 1 of the Constitution: "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States...".

Would anyone argue that basic healthcare does not affect the general Welfare of citizens of the United States?
Would anyone argue that the cost of healthcare does not affect the general Welfare of citizens when it bankrupts families doubling their misery in times health problems?
Would anyone argue against the fact that the way insurance works best is when everyone is paying their share, the insurance company makes money (maybe not as astronomical as the CEO would wish, but enough) and people are insured at a reasonable cost?

Thanks for the timely and thoughtful article.

kona

Certainly Richard Hofstadter's ideas have no place in my line of thinking. He was totally against every segment of capitalism and was a communist at heart.

1) You asked, "Would anyone argue that basic healthcare does not affect the general Welfare of citizens of the United States?" Probably no one, what is your point? That is a totally different topic than "general Welfare of the United States...". Adding "of citizens" changes the definition of an already controversial (in meaning) "general Welfare of the United States".

2) You asked, "Would anyone argue that the cost of healthcare does not affect the general Welfare of citizens when it bankrupts families doubling their misery in times health problems"? Probably not but again, what is your point?

3) You asked, "Would anyone argue against the fact that the way insurance works best is when everyone is paying their share,...?" Are you suggesting that all people should pay "their share" of their health care/insurance?

4) You should have stopped with "There is no solution..., true statement". There have been efforts for the last 50 years to make health care less expensive. All efforts have been futile and will not happen. I would be interested in your solution for decreasing health care costs from an "intellectual" viewpoint.

Mudstump

Imo, in the end universal healthcare such as Medicare for all will be the only solution to our healthcare problem. For profit insurance is not working. Medicare has a pretty good track record and the costs of administration are significantly lower.

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