The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been under siege since the day it was signed into law. There have been more than 70 repeal attempts. Another has just begun. At the root of most attacks has been the accusation of creeping socialism, that Obamacare is “socialized medicine.” But our government does not own and operate health care facilities or employ health care professionals. Even the Medicare For All advocates do not propose this approach. Private ownership and private practice remain completely unchallenged while we spend about double per person what other wealthy nations – for quality that is inferior according to multiple sources including the World Health Organization and Bloomberg News ratings. (Visit link at the bottom of this page for references on facts presented here.)
It is the health care industry’s focus on profit over quality and their lobbying power that creates the non-stop attack on the ACA. Last year the industry spent $421 million on lobbying. Their approach is illustrated by a law that forbids Medicare/Medicaid to negotiate drug prices. Next we’ll hear about industry lobbyists saying the Department of Defense can’t negotiate contracts for weapons, aircraft, and ships. What happened to the free market system in health care? The laws of supply and demand? They don’t exist at present. There is no transparency. In fact, it is virtually impossible for most of us to figure out what is being paid for our care.
Overall, statistics for 2017 show that the $3.5 trillion health care expenditure was 17.9% of our Gross Domestic Product, more than any other country. Yet we lag behind on critical indicators like life expectancy and infant mortality. Furthermore, about 10% (over 30 million) of our people have absolutely no health care coverage.
As the world’s strongest economy, a superior work ethic was as critical to our success as leadership and innovation. Better health care would improve both our productivity and our quality of life. In other words, we can’t afford not to improve this aspect of our economy. A healthier work force is a necessity, not a “nice to have” as global competition increases. We should remember that the ACA brought health care to more Americans than ever before – strengthening small businesses, the main creator of new jobs.
“The U.S. will cost you the most for treatment both in absolute terms and relative to average incomes, while life expectancy of Americans – about 79 years – was exceeded by more than 25 countries and territories according to an annual Bloomberg analysis of almost 200 economies,” according to Bloomberg News.
Arguments against government intervention fall flat. Competing products in other countries offer better quality at half the cost. Government regulation is not government control. Regulation has always been necessary to assure transparency in market and to prevent practices akin to those of a monopoly, to give two examples. The health care industry isn’t opposing regulation. They are opposing reregulation that would improve product quality and availability while letting the laws of demand manage runaway costs. We need to continue in this direction – strengthening the economy, small businesses, and our work force.
What do you think?
References for quality, costs, and coverage – https://waynenjdems.org/health-care-references-for-quality-costs-coverage/