Saturday, July 13, 2013

This Week's Ridiculous Weekly GOP Address on Healthcare...

Senator Mike Enzi, (R) Wyoming, says in this week's GOP weekly address that we should scrap the Affordable Care Act because of its partisan construction. I'm not going to shred Mr. Enzi's premise because I'm tired of arguing with people who actually believe President Obama and the Democrats shoved the ACA up the Republican Party's ass and they weren't invited to participate. They were, they said no to almost everything. So, the Dems moved on, and voila! The ACA was born.

Mr. Enzi wants to stop the ACA in its tracks permanently and start anew in smaller steps on health care reform. “We need to focus on common sense, step-by-step reforms, that protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost. Providing Americans with access to high quality, affordable health care is something both Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree upon."

The problem is, that healthcare doesn't work like other things. Its not a typical free market entity, plus the pieces are intertwined, out of necessity. Want to kill the individual mandate? OK, but then kiss the pre-existing condition coverage goodbye as well because if you can't promise the insurance companies that everyone is in the boat, then you'll have adverse selection which means only sick people buying insurance which leads to the dreaded "death spiral." The insurance companies can't survive with such a business model, so such a move would clearly be anti-business.

Sen. Enzi, like so many of his fellow Republicans loves to drone on about "we need to focus on common sense, step by step reforms,.." Short on specifics, aren't we? Sure access to care, choosing a Doctor, paying less are all nice ideas, but they won't just happen. Every move effects multiple parts of the health care industry. You can say you want to improve access but there are ramifications. The uninsured in the country are too often the worst risk pool to be found. That's going to cost a TON of money for the insurance companies to cover them, which they won't unless they get something in return. Like a mandate where now everybody healthy, young and well as the sick and older people can pool their premium dollars together to absorb the expenses of the sickest.

Choosing your own doctor isn't that tough of a hurdle to navigate. But, sometimes when insurance companies are up against it, they might elect to work with physician group B versus physician group A, for economic reasons. So, if you have United Healthcare, but they decide to not renew the contract with the practice your favorite doctor works have a choice. Pay out of pocket or find a new doctor. This isn't a new phenomenon, certainly not unique to the age of the ACA. Its been going on for years.

"Paying less" An admirable goal, but how, Mr. Enzi? If we're paying less for our healthcare, that means somebody is making less as well, and that's not a very popular idea. How do you sell that, sir? Again, it sounds great, but who's going to take less for their services?

These remarks from Sen. Enzi are, for all practical purposes, useless in advancing and improving health care in this country. Its a grand waste of our time and his. Its an insult to the people who are seriously trying to improve a dysfunctional healthcare delivery system. It is ridiculous to pine for these things aloud but be willing to do virtually nothing to realistically address the issue. Please stop wasting our time.

You can watch his full remarks below:

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