So, lemme get this straight. After 7 1/2 years of Republicans saying they wanted to repeal and replace the American Care Act (ACA or commonly known as Obamacare), the GOP House has utterly failed to repeal and replace the ACA last Friday.
Seven-and-a-half years to build party consensus for a replacement policy, and the House GOP came up with a horrible bill that would cause 24 million citizens to lose health insurance, increase costs for seniors, cut benefits and give the rich a huge tax cut.
Bill Maher had an apt comparison — it was as if the House GOP designed a transportation bill where all the bridges get torn down. But the Tea Party members wanted to kill even more people than folks driving off fallen bridges.
Aside from the gross governance incompetence of House Republicans and the current president, may I ask a simple question?
What good are health insurance companies? The ACA made the mistake of accommodating for-profit health insurance companies? What added value do they bring to the table that benefits customers? I clearly see how they benefit investors and wealthy CEOs who really love buying expensive cars, private helicopters, yachts and vacation homes.
Before Obamacare, insurance companies focused on two things: increase income and cutting expenses. That's why they refused to insure patients with pre-existing conditions (too expensive over time) and employed legions of bureaucrats to find any excuse to cut benefits or coverage when people actually got sick and needed coverage the most.
That's why, in the entire western, industrial world, the U.S. was the only country where catastrophic illness would result in bankruptcies and foreclosures. That's why it was common to see donation jars in communities, asking for donations to avert bankruptcies and foreclosures.
Obamacare changed that, banning the practices of not covering pre-existing conditions or cutting off coverage when it started getting expensive. So what's an insurance CEO to do, to keep profits and bonuses up? Why, jack up the cost of insurance.
Again, and again, and again.
I maintain that there is a fundamental conflict of interest between health care needs and the profit motive for health insurance companies. Anything that cuts costs or boosts profits almost always means hurting consumers.
And sooner or later, that means sticking you or your family with ever higher premiums and deductibles, not to mention ever-worsening standards of medical care.
Now the ACA is not perfect — mostly because of the involvement of Big Insurance and Big Pharma, who care way more about their profits than your health and well-being.
Here's what we need:
• Medicare for all, based on a progressive tax that everyone pays into, even the poor and the uber-rich.
• Health care costs would drop 31 percent because the mountains of paperwork to keep the insurance companies happy would vanish, to be replaced by a small and efficient Medicare administration.
• No limits on what doctors you could see. It would be free at point of use.
• We could even negotiate for lower prescription costs with Big Pharma, just like every other western country. Or we could invest more in federal research and benefit from breakthrough drugs without paying billions to Big Pharma at all.
• Standardize costs for drugs, operations, procedures and hospital stays.
• No more bankruptcies and mortgage foreclosures due to medical costs.