Opinions

Obamacare diminishes competition

Simple facts and numbers can be manipulated to say almost anything someone wants them to say. News outlets tend to take full advantage of this when covering anything controversial. Most recently, this can be seen in the news coverage of the American Healthcare Act. The new healthcare act is intended to follow through on the Republican campaign promise to “repeal and replace “Obamacare.”

News outlets report, “Republicans are disagreeing with the new healthcare bill,” as a means of pointing out that Trump is so bad that even his own party is disagreeing with him. The problem with this is that they will not tell you why those Republicans are in disagreement.

The media gives awful-sounding statistics like the fact that 24 million people will lose their health insurance under the American Healthcare Act. They do not, however, divulge that those people will not really be losing anything. They will be choosing not to purchase something that they never wanted in the first place.

This truth is not something most liberals want to hear. The American Healthcare Act has the potential to repair the broken economy that the Affordable Care Act created.

So-called Obamacare created a government mandate forcing U.S. citizens to purchase health insurance. Under this mandate, when tax season rolls around, uninsured individuals would be hit with a large fine. This mandate also allowed large insurance corporations to drive up their prices because families had no choice but to buy them.

Not only were prices inflated due to a lack of choice, but competition in the market was slashed. In many counties across the United States, there was only one health insurance option. Because of the government mandate to purchase insurance, people had no choice but to comply with the increasing prices of that one insurer.

Under Obamacare, insurers also could not offer smaller health insurance plans. They could only supply high-priced premium coverage. These expansive plans cover many ailments that people do not have but are forced to cover.

The American Healthcare Act eliminates this government mandate. The 24 million people mentioned earlier will not lose anything. Rather, they will choose what they want, a concept that is arguably the heart and soul of modern capitalism.

Eliminating this mandate also allows people to purchase a cheaper plan if they choose to. There will no longer be a need to purchase a premium plan that covers something someone does not want.

This will allow for more competition in the market in the long-run. As time goes on, an increase in market competition will drive the high price of health insurance downward. As this happens, some of the people who will initially opt out of buying health insurance when the act first takes effect will choose to buy when the prices go down.

Some Republicans disagree with this act, but not because of the mandates that eliminate much of government intervention in the healthcare market. These conservatives are not in favor of the act because they feel it still allows for too much government intervention.

In the American Healthcare Act, there is a provision that states that if someone is working and his or her job does not offer healthcare options, that person is entitled to a federal tax break to pay for insurance. The amount of this tax break will depend on many things including age, family size and income level.

This is similar to the provision in Obamacare that granted individuals access to the healthcare marketplace, but there are major differences. Obamacare only granted one plan that covered emergency care and general checkups were not covered. With the government stipend allotted in the American Healthcare Act, individuals will be able to shop around for coverage that fits them instead of being prescribed a one size fits all insurance plan.

The biggest difference is that, in order to be eligible for a stipend, one must be able to show income. In other words, they must show that they are working on the books and are paying taxes on that money.

The United States is a country built on capitalism. The economy is dependent on market competition and embraces consumer choice. For too long, the Affordable Care Act reduced that competition and limited those choices. It is time for buyers to take back the choice to say “no” to that which they do not want to buy.

The American Health Care Act may not be a perfect solution and it is not an economical cure-all, but it is a start. It is a chance for consumers to take back what is theirs: the choice not to consume.

March 27, 2017

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