Liberal, Irreverent

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Will the private market approach to health coverage crisis work?

Republicans and conservatives have touted the greatness of market approaches to solve all the nation's problems, health insurance included. In the discussion and the analysis apparently it was lost that the failing health insurance system we were trying fix, the was precisely a system based on free market and private insurance companies. So by that standard alone it should have been proof enough that the market approach was a failure. But let's table that for the moment.

Back to free markets and along those lines, Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, promoted years ago a free market approach to the health coverage crisis that included an individual mandate to carry health insurance, an expansion of Medicaid so the poor could comply with the mandate, a marketplace or exchange fueled by private insurers for those who do not qualify for Medicaid and financial subsidies to purchase plans in the exchange. Sounds familiar? Republican Mitt Romney used that approach in his famous healthcare reform when governor Massachusetts aka, Romneycare. No surprises here as we have a Republican governor establishing a program based on the proposal from a conservative think tank.

Until now this is pretty public knowledge, at least to those who pay enough attention. Enter now Obama and the Democrats. After elected president, Obama using his characteristic effort to be pragmatic and reaching across, decided to implement a national health insurance reform plan based on the Heritage Foundation idea and Romneycare. And all hell breaks lose. The new plan dubbed Obamacare is now socialism, a government takeover, an infringement on individual's rights, a liberal conspiracy, etc, etc. I think we all remember the spectacle.

Now Obamacare is law, ratified by the Supreme Court and being implemented across the nation. Yes, republicans continue their obstruction and sabotage, Koch brothers have spent millions in pizza and beer parties to convince young people not to enroll in the plan (however Koch bros. have not said if they will pay for the medical bills of those young people if it happens they get ill or in an accident), many republican states refuse to cooperate, conservative keep groups filing lawsuits, and the right wing loonies in the streets are predicting the end of the world, etc, etc.

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