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ObamaCare is collapsing. Reeling from unexpected losses, private insurers are fleeing the ObamaCare exchanges or are jacking up premiums at a sickening rate. Customers are stunned by the ugly reality that, although premiums are subsidized, sky-high deductibles mean they pay more for health care than ever before. Severely restrictive networks compound patient unhappiness. More and more doctors are refusing to treat Medicaid patients because of the absurdly low reimbursement rates. ObamaCare’s nonprofit co-ops were supposed to provide cheaper coverage because they are nonprofits, but 16 out of 23 of them are financially busted and 6 more are on the verge of collapse.
Ominously, underlying medical costs are also rising, despite glib promises that ObamaCare would cut prices.
No one–Democrat, Republican, independent or just-don’t-care–is happy with the situation. Yet this issue is barely mentioned at campaign hustings.
If asked, some Democrats say that, really, ObamaCare is fine and just needs some nips and tucks. Other, more honest Democrats acknowledge the mess and declare that we need a truly socialist single-payer system. A strange mind-set, that: The government has been making a hash of health care–and the prescription is more government! The scandal-ridden, veteran-killing VA system is also conveniently ignored. Nonetheless, anyone listening to Hillary Clinton quickly detects that she ultimately agrees with Bernie on this, that Washington should take over the entire U.S. medical insurance system and turn hospitals and clinics into rigidly regulated, Washington-dominated utilities, making doctors virtual bureaucrats.
And where are the Republicans on all of this? They ritualistically call for repeal of ObamaCare and then … don’t do much else. Under the prod of Speaker Paul Ryan, House GOPers came up with some exciting, well-thought-out ideas on how to respond to ObamaCare’s implosion, giving patients more power in the health care market while providing a comprehensive safety net in the form of tax credits or direct payments to people for obtaining basic, affordable coverage. Yet one would be hard put to find a GOP candidate–and certainly not Donald Trump–who’s leading with these ideas on the campaign trail.
Health care makes up almost 20% of our economy. It is profoundly personal. Sensible reforms could turn what is a growing and seemingly hopeless financial liability into the most dynamic growth sector ever. Yet, for all intents and purposes, it remains a nonissue.
There is nothing that better illustrates the bankruptcy of American politics today.
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