President Trump, along with a lot of GOP members of Congress and state officials, rode to power, at least in part, on a promise to get rid of "Obamacare." Now, many are having second thoughts. Why? Because, except for some problems here and there, Obamacare is working and the GOP has not articulated a replacement plan that addresses the same concerns that brought about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And, polls show that the reforms brought about by the ACA are much more popular than the Right would have Americans believe.
Obamacare and Medicaid expansion (in spite of opposition to expansion by many state-level conservatives) resulted in over 18 million American who lacked health insurance now being covered. While many of these may have voted for Trump, they won't like losing their coverage. Even conservative members of Congress are aware of this. Now, those who were ineligible for insurance can get it.
The ACA is far from perfect. It IS quite confusing for the ordinary consumer. But, it is not "socialized medicine" as many charge. It is actually capitalist medicine with a few needed checks and balances on the health care industry and those checks are far from enough.
There is no public option in Obamacare. There was one in the original plan but the insurance lobby made sure that was not included in the final version. So, most American health care is still in the hands of powerful interests who have more to gain from denying care than providing it.
Actually , the U.S.A. already has "socialized medicine" for some people. What is military or veteran health care but a government operated system? And, what is medicare but a "single payer" plan. So, already, there is a bit of "socialism" in our health care system.
Over the decades, the opposition to any rational health care reform has changed. In the 1940s and 50s, the American Medical Association was at the forefront of opposition to any changes in the system. This was while the U.S. was actually helping a conquered country, Japan, built a national health care system! Today, though, more and more health care professionals are disgusted with our current system and would like to change it.
Today, the biggest opponents of real health care reform are Big Insurance and "Big Pharma." Since they are largely responsible for our health care fiasco, this writer never understood why they even got a place at the table.
One of results of the ACA keeping health insurance within the private sector is that the legislation is confusing. The interests opposing even these mild reforms have used this complexity to disseminate disinformation about Obamacare such as the supposed "death panels" for grandpa.
What is needed is a single-payer system like Canada. Of course, the "medical/industrial complex" disseminates disinformation about that, too. In the 1990s, when the Clintons tried to reform health care, the insurance lobby hired an extreme right-wing Canadian to campaign about how awful Canada's system is.
In reality, most Canadians, even that country's Conservative Party, accept the Canadian health care system as a matter of right. This writer has Canadian friends and family who seem very satisfied with their system. Conservatives like American conservatives are considered "fringe" in Canada!
Of course, there are always those who complain about some detail, but overall, Canadians like their system and certainly don't want OUR system. As for waits for elective, non-emergency procedures, they do exist in Canada but they exist here, too. Nor, is the Canadian system "socialized" medicine. The insurance may be socialized but doctors can remain in private practice. Also, drug prices are so much lower in Canada that many Americans go to Canada to fill prescriptions.
America has some of the finest medical professionals in the world. We also have the best medical technology. Until Obamacare, however, we had one of the worst health care DELIVERY systems in the democratic, "developed" world. And, it is still not that great. Virtually all modern democracies and even some "developing" countries have national health plans, single payer or at least a public option. We need to catch up with the rest of the "civilized" world.
(Scott Cracraft is an American citizen, taxpayer, veteran, and resident of Gilford.)
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