The New York Times has admitted the failures of Obamacare: loss of insurers in many marketplaces, high premium costs, the collapse of many co-ops, overreaching federal mandates, and more. The Times suggests that change is necessary in order to ensure Obamacare’s survival, but seems to endorse even more government participation, not less.
There is a renewed push for a public option. One of the more ridiculous justifications from the article comes from the charge that “private insurance companies could not be trusted to provide reliable coverage or control costs” and that “the shrinking number of health insurers is proof that these warnings were spot on.” To suggest that it is the collapse of many markets is the fault of the insurance companies themselves is absolutely ridiculous.
And another laughable observation on the structural and technical problems of Obamacare: “The subsidies were not generous enough. The penalties for not getting insurance were not stiff enough. And we don’t have enough young healthy people in the exchanges,” essentially blaming everyone else for the failures. The insurance companies didn’t offer cheaper enough plans. The taxpayer didn’t pay enough in penalties/fines/taxes. Too many sick people and too few healthy people enrolled. The solution: offer more government money, paid for by extracting more penalties/fines/taxes for those who chose not to purchase insurance, and spend more money trying to convince more healthy people to buy trust Obamacare and buy into the exchanges. You can’t make this up.
What’s more, many of the same champions of Obamacare are not calling for even more drastic, government-centered, expensive alternatives. “On Sept. 15, Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, introduced a resolution calling for a public option. The measure now has 32 co-sponsors, including the top Senate Democrats: Harry Reid of Nevada, Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois.”
The public option could take a couple of different forms. One would be a government sponsored health plan available as an option in every market. The other option would be that a single payer option, championed by Sanders, which would be essentially Medicare for all. Unfortunately, such ideas would only compound the problem, which, as its root, is money.
Any public option would drive up medical costs, and Obamacare now is financially unsustainable. A government sponsored plan “would have an unfair advantage if it both regulates and competes with private plans,” while a single-payer plan would be even more egregiously expensive as it would shoulder the costs for everything.
While completely repealing Obamacare is probably not a viable solution or possibility anymore, other changes such as making insurance portable across state lines, widening the use and availability of health savings account should also be explored, not shunned. Merely throwing more money after bad money will only worsen Obamacare for everyone.