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We Should Welcome the ‘Health Care Wars’

July 6, 2018

In the wake of the new tax reform law, which eliminated the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, mainstream news reports might cause one to think the country’s health care system is on the verge of COLLAPSE.

In the wake of the new tax reform law, which eliminated the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, mainstream news reports might cause one to think the country’s health care system is on the verge of COLLAPSE.

One headline read, “ACA Lawsuit Could Jeopardize 52 Million Americans’ Access to Health Care,” in response to the recent attempt by 20 states to challenge the constitutionality of the ACA now that the mandate is effectively gone.

“Dems Blast GOP for ‘Stunning Attack on the Rule of Law’ in Obamacare Case,” stated another. (This headline falsely portrayed the breaking news that President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice will no longer defend portions of the ACA in federal court.)

Another headline simply and ominously read, “The Coming Health Care Wars.” This particular piece outlined the differences of opinion between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to health care policy and how these differences will affect the coming mid-term election. Some of the issues mentioned included the recent report that Medicare is going broke faster than previously thought, rising out-of-pocket health care costs, the cost of prescription drugs, and those pesky premiums that keep rising as insurers jack up rates.

The last one has the distinction of being the first salvo in the health care war, as the histrionics over who is to blame for today’s rising health care costs has already begun. Democrats blame Republicans for effectively getting rid of Obamacare because insurers are threatening higher premiums, but Republicans have the better argument because premiums and deductibles were rising before Obamacare started its death spiral.

As of yet, there aren’t hard and fast solutions to these problems, but there are good reasons for Americans to feel hopeful about health insurance again. They need only look in the right place. And that place is much closer to home than Washington, DC.

Reporters are doing their best to convince Americans health care should be the primary issue in the 2018 midterm elections and that Trump and Republicans deserve the blame for the system’s current woes, but many average Americans desperately looking for inexpensive health insurance should stop looking to the federal government for answers and start examining what the legislators in their own state are doing to make health care more affordable. Many states are now introducing numerous cost-saving innovations and utilizing market forces to improve health care access.

For example, several states have promoted short-term insurance plans that roll over every 12 months (as opposed to the late-term Obama administration rule change that shortened that period to three months). Multiple states are also seeking 1332 Obamacare innovation waivers, which allow states to opt out of certain burdensome provisions if they can find new ways to make insurance cheaper and more readily available.

Let the news writers work themselves into a tizzy trying to drum up fear that health care is in jeopardy without Obamacare if it keeps them busy. And give politicians looking to land a seat (or trying desperately to hold onto one) room to stoke the fires of paranoia that all is lost without a solid single-payer plan emanating from the federal government.

In short, embrace the “health care wars”—because with the help of the Trump administration and free-market state lawmakers across the country, consumers have more options now than at any time since Obamacare was first imposed.

[Originally Posted at Townhall.com]

Article Tags
Health Care
Author
Sarah Lee is the managing editor of Health Care News and a research fellow at The Heartland Institute.
slee@heartland.org @HCPolicy