The federal government has been too involved in regulating America’s health care system for years.
Yes, long before the unaffordable “Affordable Care Act,” aka Obamacare, came along, Washington was picking winners and losers in health care.
The unfair tax treatment of health care started post-World War II when we began giving tax breaks to those getting health care via their employer but not to others like the self-employed and the small business owner. More meddling occurred in the 1960s with the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. And it continued in the 1980s when Congress passed a law guaranteeing free emergency room care to both the uninsured and illegal immigrants.
And then came the mother of all meddling: Obamacare. It came with a huge push to not only expand Medicaid, but to take over what was left of the private insurance market through government mandates and regulations.
This was one of, if not the chief reason, voters wanted to see Obamacare repealed. Its regulations were taking away their doctors, their health care choices, and imposing premium prices many could no longer afford.
Obamacare’s regulations alone were responsible for driving premiums costs up by as much as 68 percent.
- The essential health benefits mandate and actuarial requirements that forced insurance plans to include coverage many Americans don’t want, don’t need, and definitely can’t afford, raised premiums nationally by over 16 percent, and in some states, over 30 percent.
- Adding newly uninsured people to the rolls, not surprisingly, caused an uptick in the sickness of the population in insurance markets. Nationally that drove up premiums by 4 percent, but in some states like Ohio, it contributed to a more than 35 percent hike.
And then there is the age factor. It’s a basic fact of life that the older you are, the more health care you are going to need and consume. Insurance markets have long recognized this. But Obamacare mandated they lessen the differences older people versus younger people paid.
The result? National averages show young people will see rate increases of almost 60 to 90 percent.
No wonder far fewer than needed young and healthy Americans have decided to risk paying a fine than sign up for health care.
But getting rid of Obamacare’s architecture, the latest in a long line of Washington attempts to regulate our lives, was not in the GOP’s most recent repeal and replace legislation.
And this is why that attempt failed and a new repeal effort is now underway.
No amount of tinkering with other factors will make up for the costs Americans will pay or privacy we will lose if we allow Congress to leave this Washington power grab in place.
Genevieve Wood advances policy priorities of The Heritage Foundation as senior contributor to The Daily Signal.