“Two-hundred thousand people are going to die” If we pass the Republicans' Senate healthcare bill. Those words came from Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez last week.
Truthfully, it has been decades since Americans died because they lacked access to healthcare. In 2009, the sales-pitch for passing The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was that families and individuals with pre-existing conditions shouldn't have to go bankrupt after an emergency room visit, bout with cancer or heart attack.
We've made quite a journey from the sales pitch of financial implications to the assertion that a lack of health insurance results in death.
Perez’s argument is akin to saying “you will die because I don't have automobile insurance.” If you get into a serious automobile accident, they rush you to the emergency room. Even if the accident is your fault, you will not be denied care. Lacking automobile and medical insurance doesn't mean you die. Most people facing this scenario will recover with the potential of bankruptcy due to expensive medical bills.
Democrats need to stop playing obstructionist politics and participate in the solutions needed to repair the damage they created with Obamacare.
If not, Republicans need to fully repeal Obamacare and return us to the ‘free market.’
Comparing health insurance to automobile insurance is a reasonable way to understand this complicated issue. If I have two automobile wrecks and get two speeding tickets in a single year, there's a good chance my auto insurance carrier will cancel my coverage or at least greatly increase my rates. I’m a high-risk driver in that scenario.
If I am an unhealthy eater, smoke a pack of cigarettes per day and don't regularly visit the doctor for preventative care, I am the medical version of the aforementioned high-risk driver.
That said, we must have empathy for people with financial limitations, pre-existing conditions and severe medical problems who can’t obtain coverage or can’t afford it due to income and costs.
For families (or individuals) making less than national average income, who do not have access to workplace coverage, we should consider expanding Medicaid to cover them as a fail-safe option.
This means millions of Americans who are presently being subsidized by the federal government and their state will have more limited choices compared to those in the ‘self-pay’ free market. However, they will have affordable access to preventive, ongoing and emergency care.
People on the lower end of the economic spectrum need transportation to get to and from work. In many cases, they can only afford an older vehicle with high mileage lacking the bells and whistles of a luxury car. What many politicians are attempting to do with healthcare legislation is give everyone a $100,000 BMW regardless of whether they can afford it or not.
There has to be two markets for health insurance: A secondary market for people who cannot afford coverage (with likely longer lines and less options). Then, there should be a luxury market for those people paying their full health insurance bill while they simultaneously subsidize the secondary market through taxes.
There has to be a basic necessities policy (secondary market) with more limited access that encourages preventative care, doctors visits instead of emergency room visits and reasonable accountability required in healthcare choices. As those people stuck in the secondary market find economic, upward mobility, they will then be able to afford coverage from the free (luxury) market.
Missing from this healthcare debate is the fact that many Americans are simply irresponsible and unaccountable. There are millions of people taking advantage of the goodwill offered in Obamacare.
Handouts should be a bridge to the future - not a way of life. In giving those in need of financial assistance equivalent insurance benefits to those paying the entirety their full bill, we incentivize abuse.
No one is going to die if we repeal Obamacare. If Perez wishes to be taken seriously (or any Democrat for that matter) they should stop treating Americans like the useful idiots they believe we are and instead speak to us in real terms about the truth of what's at stake.
The emergency room is the doctor's office for the uninsured and the costs are passed along to the rest of us. An unexpected hospital visit to the uninsured is an almost certain trip to bankruptcy court. But, health insurance is not healthcare.
We have the best health care in the world and everyone has access to it. For this reason it disgusts me to see Democrats refer to health insurance legislation as a life or death matter. It simply is not.
You don’t get to drive the 'BMW' of health insurance on a ‘Yugo' budget.