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August 2019
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Make healthcare work for the nation, not for political points

The attitude in Washington on healthcare (and most everything) seems to be if at first you don’t succeed, blame the other party for political gain.

Or, rhetoric is a perfect substitute for hard work.

Or possibly, if a previous administration gives you lemons, wail and moan  because no one will make lemonade for you.

The problem with Washington legislators scurrying away from the Obamacare versus Trumpcare issue is that it holds many American’s healthcare hostage.

Rather than chest-thumping about repealing Obamacare, a more practical approach for the past six months would have been, “We’re gonna fix the thing.”

The idea of chunking it sounded great on the campaign trail but was horrible as a policy direction. Even with its ridiculously high prices, Obamacare has had several years to gain traction, including 22 million Americans who signed up for individual coverage.

Too many people spent the last few years with a twisted hope that maybe it would completely break down so we could put something new in its place without any fuss.

Unfortunately for the Americans who rely on Obamacare, it’s not completely breaking down to be replaced by some Republican Phoenix rising from the ashes, but neither is it going to correct itself to a sustainable state.

We would like to see congressmen, like Tom Graves and Doug Collins, back off the doom and gloom and start pragmatically addressing the one overriding problem of cost to consumers.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which both Democrats and Republican reference as reliable, the current healthcare plan can be salvaged if the federal government can stabilize the markets, which Congress is scheduled to begin work on this week.

In fact, the Kaiser Family Foundation website stated that there is “a decent chance for bipartisan cooperation and a successful outcome.” That’s encouraging to hear that relief is possible.

Despite all the rhetoric, healthcare experts say that the system is improving and should continue to improve with price and coverage, noting that many of the initial Obamacare problems were not that unexpected with such a massive shift in the multi-billion dollar industry, especially as there were people offering limited support for political reasons.

It has turned out that all areas of the country have at least one company that offers insurance plans. The last “bare” county in rural Ohio has been covered – though many areas have limited options and astronomical prices.

It is also worth remembering that the nation’s uninsured rate fell to 10.9 percent last year from 17.1 percent in late 2013. This is a 22 million person step in the right direction. Treating uninsured people have been a persistent cause of high prices for all patients. Someone is paying for the people without any health coverage who have critical illnesses and injuries – in the form of higher costs for all of us.

Regardless of what the plan is ultimately called, the problem that must be tackled is cost. And this is specifically tied to the individual plans. While everyone’s group insurance seems to go up every year, both before and since Obamacare, the 155 million of this nation who get their coverage through work aren’t seeing the same level of price fluctuations that the individuals are.

If CFO’s think back, group insurance prices and increases have been a major economic thorn in the side of the nation’s businesses well before Obamacare, and unless the nation addresses healthcare concerns across the board it will continue to be a drain on the bank accounts of companies. Price is a problem that further talk of scrapping the current system will not address. Rest assured that talk of implosion and political posturing will not bring down the cost of insurance one cent.

Partnership between the insurance companies, medical industry and Washington is the path out of the swamp, not stump-speeches for political gains.