Trumpcare Obamacare Replacement Proposals

Trumpcare is a nickname given to the republican proposals for replacing Obamacare.  Officially, the proposal is for the American Health Care Reform Act of 2017 to replace the Affordable Care Act.

This post on Obamacare Replacement Proposals was written several weeks ago but left unpublished.  I have tried to keep this site as straightforward as possible and didn’t want to dilute the message. My biases may have come through in a few places, but in most cases, it was just the facts. This section is different and represents my opinions.

Health care has become political. At the time of this writing, there are already multiple proposals floating around, and I’m sure there are more to come. Everyone has an idea, yet very few are workable.

For starters, let’s define the problems:
1. It’s all about health care. Insurance is just an add-on.
2. Healthcare is an enormous expense, some 17% of our nation’s economy.
3. No one likes to think about health care until they need it.
4. Almost all of us will need health care. Some of us will plan to have it in place. Others just expect it to be free.
5. The discussion has become political. Buzzwords and camera time have become more important than logical thought.

The Obamacare legislation is a monster. The bill itself is 2,700 pages, and it’s backed up by more than 20,000 more pages of regulations.  The gargantuan size is necessitated by the complexity of integrating Obamacare with tax codes, Medicare, Medicaid, the IRS, and different state programs.  Needless to say, anything this complex has some errors and omissions.

H.R. 277: American Health Care Reform Act of 2017 AKA Trumpcare
H.R. 277: American Health Care Reform Act of 2017 AKA Trumpcare

The Opposition and Reason for Trumpcare

But the real opposition comes from just three issues.  Number one is that the Republicans have vowed to oppose anything that comes from the Democrats.  It’s politics.  And that includes the name.  Scratch out all references to Obamacare and relabel them Trumpcare.

Back in the early 90’s, the Clinton administration proposed a health care plan that was much more radical than what is in the ACA.  The original Clinton proposal was for heavy government involvement.  The basis of what became Obamacare was built on an alternative plan from the staunchly conservative Heritage Foundation.  It’s mostly a free market system, and it’s very much like the plan that Republican Mitt Romney passed in Massachusetts.  The Republicans have made repealing Obamacare and replacing it with Trumpcare their top priority.

The funny part is, with all of the negative press, polls have shown that 49% oppose Obamacare where only 37% oppose the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The two names are for the same program.

The second level of opposition comes from those who don’t want to pay for it.  I can’t blame them; I don’t like being forced to pay for anything not of my choosing.  But healthcare insurance, like automobile insurance, is something that everyone needs.  We have a system in this country that anyone who enters an Emergency Room gets treated, regardless of ability to pay.  This law requires all to have insurance or the ability to pay.

It’s not only individuals that dislike the mandate.  There is also a cost for businesses that are now required to provide more coverage and many small businesses that have an obligation to provide insurance where it wasn’t required previously.

Is it Health Care or Health Insurance

There’s also a misunderstanding of what health insurance is for.  It’s nice that it can cover routine checkups and the occasional minor illness.  But the real reason and cost driver for health insurance is a catastrophic illness.  The latest figures show that men have a 1 in 2 chance of developing Cancer during their lifetime. Women 1 in 3. The average annual cost of treatment for breast cancer is $128,556. Prostate cancer is $42,570. Colon cancer is $51,812. These are just first-year costs from the National Cancer Institute. Even more, will experience a heart attack than cancer. The average first-year cost of treating a heart attack is $38,501.  A simple broken leg is over $10,000. Xrays alone can approach $2000. That’s what drives the cost.

One more topic that I want to touch on before I close this post.  Keep in mind that the problem is with the health care system.  Insurance companies take a lot of the blame, but the fact is that they are just part of the delivery system.  Actually, for most Americans other than those in Medicare or Tricare, the insurance companies are the only ones with enough clout to negotiate lower prices.

We’ll cover more of all of these ideas in later posts.  And finally, a reminder that this section, unlike the rest of the site, is mostly opinion.  Your thoughts are welcome.