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May 8, 2019 by Dr. Varner in Policy
Now that the justice department has made it clear they agree with a federal court’s ruling that Obamacare is unconstitutional, Congress should set its sights on real healthcare reform. Once the Affordable Care Act is no longer in effect, the last thing Congress should do is try to replace it.
Lots of people are upset that pre-existing conditions won’t be covered, and they’re right to be scared–but there is hope! If we implement the right reforms, then the needs of sick Americans can be met, and we don’t have to use a Venezuelan-style nationalization policy to do it! Here are four key reforms for America after Obamacare:
Every American should have a health savings account (HSA), and routine medical expenses should be paid not by insurance companies, but by the patients themselves, directly and with their HSA. This will immediately give patients back the power they have lost over the last 70 years of centralized planning and bureaucratic power grabs.
Currently, the top five private insurance companies get nearly 60 percent of their revenues from Medicare and Medicaid payments. Subsidies, when necessary, should be given to patients in their HSAs –and the patient should retain direct control over how they are spent. This way, we can meet the political demand to care for the very sick and very poor, and no longer pour gasoline on the fire of out-of-control inflation. It also avoids giving power to bureaucrats who routinely abuse patients. He who has the gold makes the rules. Therefore, let’s put the gold into the hands of the patients.
It’s currently illegal to do this, even though other countries do it all the time. If we legalize importing foreign drugs —generic and brand name— we’ll see drug prices plummet to a fraction of their cost today. Patients who pay thousands of dollars per month would see their bill slashed to only tens of dollars per month overnight. Patients taking Daraprim can slash 99 percent off their bill by shopping from UK pharmacies. The only losers would be guys like Martin Shkreli –and who cares if he loses? (See my upcoming book White Coat Cartels for a proposal on how to generate the political support for this, as it could be an amazing policy victory for American patients.)
Currently, the supply of physicians is artificially restricted by anticompetitive licensure laws. The supply of hospitals is artificially restricted too. Patients lose and corporations win big. It doesn’t have to be this way. Congress should legislate new antitrust provisions that target state governments who pass laws that create cartels in the healthcare market. It’s time to sue the state governments for antitrust violations. America must aggressively attack this cartel system and now is the perfect time.
Every one of the policies here will be opposed viciously by the healthcare industry. They don’t want dramatic changes to the system. They like the status quo. They spend billions of dollars protecting the status quo. In the last 20 years, more than $1 billion has been spent to lobby for HMOs, more than $1.6 billion for hospitals and nursing home groups, and more than $4 billion to lobby for big pharmaceutical companies.
That’s because they view healthcare reform as a way to suck up more tax dollars and further entrench their cartelized industries. Patients, however, will see their healthcare costs drop to a fraction of what they were spending before. The sick and the needy will still get care –the big difference is that, instead of being treated like beggars with a welfare card, they’ll be treated like paying customers.
But beware: People who profit off of the current system will tell you the above reforms will be a complete disaster. They always have a doomsday scenario to try and sell you. That’s a self-serving argument from insiders who are lining their pockets and laughing all the way to the bank. The regulatory environment in health care today is designed to do one thing: transfer your health insurance premiums, and your tax dollars, into the hands of the white coat cartels.
It’s time for tired, broke patients to fight back. It’s time to take the control of health care away from the bureaucrats and industry insiders and give it back to the patients.
This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.