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The nasty truth about the AHCA.

May 31, 2017

The current gridlock over the ACA/AHCA mess seems to hinge on one problem.

Both are top-down government-run healthcare insurance systems.

After spending months, even years, trying to design out the compulsory features of the ACA, lawmakers are still unable to figure out how to give people freedom of choice, but still offer all-inclusive health insurance without bankrupting the system.

Conceptually, both programs are Medicare and Medicaid on steroids. If you take government provided figures as gospel, both of those programs will go bankrupt within five to fifteen years if managed as they are now.

So we should create another program just like them, right?

Somehow the answer to staving off bankruptcy in the two existing government health insurance  systems, plus Social Security, is either to kick people off of them or raise the eligibility age levels to the point that to put it delicately, no one will be around long enough to use up too much money.

Of course there is another answer. Just raise the tax that funds them to a point where income exceeds outgo.

There doesn’t seem to be any consensus as to how high that would have to be, but given how far they are in the hole, some estimates run as high as triple the current 15.3 percent for FICA.

On average however, most of the speculation (there doesn’t seem to be any legitimate studies) puts the figure at double the current bite.

Remember, all the hullabaloo over the original ACA was getting poor people some sort of access to healthcare. That was supposedly about 35 million people, or just a little over 10%  of the population.

Even back in 2009, people questioned the wisdom of upsetting a system that was generally serving 90% of the population fairly well to cover 10% of the population.

And yes, even then some economists were proposing that Medicaid be turned into a national high-risk health insurance program that existed side-by-side with private insurance.

Ah, but that was the beginning of the Obama era. Free everything was the goal.

Unfortunately, unbridled socialist optimism ran into the harsh reality that everything costs money.

The result was unaffordable premiums and ridiculously high deductibles that affected  not 10% of the population, but closer to 50%.

The answer was (and still is) to give people taxpayer money to offset the premium costs, in the form of subsidized premiums. And not just people living at or below the poverty level, but earning as much as four times the lowest base income.  For single people that was an income of as much as $46,680 in 2015.

Brilliant. The pie was no bigger but somehow, you could take another slice out of it without reducing the existing portion size.

The only way to take more out of the national budget is to increase the amount of money available.

Present Trump believes that a combination of having more people in the workforce and reducing abuses and waste in the entire government system will fix it. He may be right, but it’s an unattainable goal, since it involves keeping Washington on a strict budget.

President Obama wanted to tack taxes and fees onto virtually everything except wages so long as it primarily affected the evil 1%. What he failed to acknowledge is that 1% of the population can’t support the other 99%. Thus, we have the current Obamacare debacle.

And that’s the political dilemma that Washington can’t seem to solve.

How do you tell people that everyone, without exception, has to pay more at the paycheck level, and still get re-elected?

From → op-ed

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