The Eye of the Health Care Storm

By on June 3, 2014
eye_of_the_storm_by_veeegeee-d784lja

eye_of_the_storm_by_veeegeee-d784ljaWe are in the eye of a political storm right now concerning health care reform. There is an eerie calm about this political season. The forces of repeal have blown themselves out to sea. Those who talk of it do so with more resignation than fervor these days. Only in the solid south does saber-rattling about undoing reform stir the faithful who have a whole host of social issues they want undone.  As long as Obama is president it will not be repealed. By the time a new president enters the White House in January of 2017, 10 million or more Americans will have benefitted from it, making scrapping the ACA a very risky undertaking for anyone looking to get re-elected.

The forces against the act have failed to come up with a comprehensive alternative. There are rumblings of this politician or that having an alternative in his back pocket, but once scrutinized, they all turn out to be a hodge-podge of aspirations and condemnations, voodoo health economics, not a shovel-ready plan at all.

There is more talk of ‘fixing the act,’ especially among Democrats trying to keep their seats in so-called red states this year. It certainly will need fixing in the years to come. Through brilliant manuvering, the triumphant Democrats of 2010 threw together a comprehensive omnibus bill that just squeaked into law. The language about long-term care for the elderly has already been quietly stripped from the legislation. The plan to finance it was unworkable. That need however is still there and grows daily. Some Republicans have also quietly conceded that the focus now is on fixes. Neither side has yet given any specifics about what needs fixing. That is politically risky as well.

One of the definite things awaiting a fix is the waste and redundancy and valueless middlemen we have built into our system to satisfy large interests. The other is the huge variations in quality and cost currently embedded in American Health Care. The third aspect is its sheer complexity, perhaps the worst feature of all. Most Americans don’t understand their own health care, many members of congress don’t sound like they get it either. Simplfying our health care delivery system is a good place for a bi-partisan group to begin. Let’s just hope that Congress doesn’t decide to fix the system the way they have ‘simplified the tax code’ over time. The ‘patient’ could die if they do.

 

Tom Godfrey

About Tom Godfrey

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