Obama Care, Trump Care, Who Cares?
As I dyed-in-the-wool, right-of-right conservative, I cannot believe I am writing this.
Sometimes, if it is broke, don’t fix it. Especially when it comes to healthcare reform. Obama Care. People who can’t afford healthcare get healthcare. Trump Care. People with healthcare lose it unless they pay a lot more. George Bernard Shaw said, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” Given enough time, when this line of thinking is applied to healthcare reform either Peter or Paul dies because he no longer has insurance.
Everyone in Congress who is playing with healthcare has exceeded their level of competency. By a lot. A whole lot. They are guilty of policy making without a hall pass, of trying to color outside the lines without any crayons.
On May 22, 1856, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, entered the Senate chamber and, because he disagreed with a senator, using a cane he beat the senator into unconsciousness. Today, a beating of that degree would be deemed a bridge too far. It would be politically incorrect. However, to borrow a line from the movie Network, people who need healthcare–all of us–need to tell Congress, “we are mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore.”
Two rules should govern our society:
- Kittens should not be allowed to play with matches
- Congress should not be allowed to play with healthcare
Under the plans of both parties, the definition of patient-centric has gone from patient-centric care to patient-centric cost. While pre-Obama healthcare was less than perfect, it sort of worked, even though it teetered on its edge. Congress’s efforts remind me of the game, Jenga. Jenga is the game where players take turns removing wooden blocks, one block at a time, from a tower of fifty-four blocks. The more blocks that are removed, the weaker the tower becomes.
According to many, the old healthcare model had reached the point that when the next block was removed the tower would collapse. Under Obama Care and Trump Care, it looks like both initiatives tried to fix a tower while it was collapsing. We, you and me we, should have required our Congressional representatives to practice with wooden blocks before they practiced their wizardry on one-third of our economy.
The Democrats clicked their heels together three times and approved a bill that none of them read. The Republicans borrowed the Democrats’ shoes and approved a bill that took less time to write than it takes to mow your lawn. Patient-centric became party-centric.
So, just how screwed up is the plan my team submitted? You only need to know two facts about the Republican plan to understand what a complete failure they’ve put forth:
- One of every six people in the U.S. is sixty-seven or older
- Under their plan, the annual cost of healthcare for someone sixty-seven or older, whose income is more than $27,000, will be $13,000—roughly fifty cents of every dollar
- (The Republican plan’s underpinning unwittingly seems to stem from a line in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” The Republicans were not so crass as to say let those people sixty-seven and older die, but a plan with such high costs will go a long way to decreasing the percentage of people sixty-seven or older. Surplus population 101.)
While both political parties worked to fix what appears to be an insoluble problem, they did so without accounting for the only people who mattered: patients. The impact of the party’s actions has landed on those who are the least capable of adapting to those actions—patients.
My idea? Since the Russians are so tight with many of our elected officials, perhaps we should ask the Russians to fix our healthcare mess, or at least ask them to do their best to divert Congress’s focus away from healthcare. What we had may not have been great, but like democracy .