Obamacare Protects the Free Market: Why Repealing It Would Mean a Return to Socialism
Socialists and liberals dislike the Affordable Care Act because there is no single payer government run option. The ACA cuts socialist programs and it's free market approach is too centrist for them.
Conservatives believe the ACA is the most liberal, socialist creation in mankind's history and that Obama has sown the seeds for American apocalypse.
Polls show high approval of most individual parts of the law. When asked about the entire law together people hate it. Political misinformation campaigns have convinced people that socialism is taking over America.
I will address the socialism argument first and then address some of the other critics concerns.
Where did we come from before the ACA? And where are we now?
Prior to the Affordable Care Act the costs of uninsured free riders skipping their medical bills were socialized. Rather than going bankrupt, hospitals increase the prices for the insured. Hospitals split the losses with the government. The government then taxes you higher to socialize the losses.
For example, uninsured diabetes patients were showing up in costly hospital emergency rooms for insulin when health crises arose rather than going to cheaper primary care doctors. Many couldn't pay those bills.
Before the Affordable Care Act, the system was socialistic, and losses were distributed throughout America.
Repeal of the Affordable Care Act is a call for a return to that socialist system.
Socialism is - a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, or capital, land., in the community as a whole. [Dictionary.com]
The ACA ends the spreading of costs for unpaid bills through the community (socialism) to you that led to higher health insurance payments and higher taxes. It does this by using a method that Mitt Romney pioneered as governor of Massachusetts, which now has 98% of its residents insured. Romney even ran his first presidential campaign on his method for fixing the free rider problem.
Watch Mitt Romney during his first run for President:
Yes, Romney created the individual mandate that the Supreme Court just upheld as constitutional and then promoted it nationally as the "Republican solution to the Democrat's free rider problem in the health care system."
View a medley of videos of Romney, including during the Republican debates promoting the individual mandate on this youtube video.
Romney is not called an Etch A Sketch for nothing. He now attacks the mandate daily.
How does the ACA's reduction of socialism benefit you?
The costs of free riders nails your wallet in more than one way. Your insurance premiums are higher because the costs are embedded in the services you use that your insurance company covers. Your taxes are higher because the government pays for a portion of these unpaid bills and you and all tax payers are the only source of government money. The ACA removes this socialization of costs and will save you money.
Annually, you, or your employer pays about $1000 more in insurance premiums to pay for losses that free riders brought to the system. You pay about $1000 more in taxes today. So, in total around $2000 a year comes out of your wallet because of the socialist system of the past that the Affordable Care Act replaces.
What will your costs be without free riders sucking money out of your wallet?
How will employers benefit if they pay thousands and thousands less for their hundreds of employees because they aren't paying free riders who don't work for them?
This could leave employers with more money in the bank to raise your pay, or hire more workers.
Repealing Obamacare returns to a system where you and your employer foot the bill for the uninsured.
Repealing Obamacare costs you at least $2000 a year.
What other socialism does the ACA cancel?
Medicare Advantage was a public-private partnership that was supposed to lower health care costs by having private insurance companies involved. The costs ballooned.
By slashing this socialist program entirely and moving people into the more efficient Medicare system, the Affordable Care Act saves about $380 billion over a decade.
This and other major cuts makes the ACA deficit neutral. The CBO reports that it may reduce the deficit a total of 100 billion dollars over this decade and by as much as a trillion dollars in the next decade.
Calling for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act is a call to add this socialist program back to the system and move people out of the more efficient Medicare.
Because I don't want to move back to the Socialist system that existed before Obamacare I will address some of critics other concerns.
How does the definition of socialism apply to the private insurance? How is private insurance improved?
Private health insurance
The purpose of private health insurance is to collect payments from everyone and then to spread the costs through the insurance pool, across the community as a whole, when people get sick. Private health insurance is a socialist approach.
When private companies provide the insurance this applies the traditions of America's mixed market economy. Health insurance is a socialist idea. Delivering it by companies is a capitalist idea. So, private health insurance is a socialist/capitalist system.
When the ACA moves more people into the private health care system they are reducing government socialism and increasing private socialist/capitalism.
Repealing Obamacare means paying for more people through government programs.
Keeping Obamacare means using free-market health insurance exchanges to drive down prices of private insurance.
Private insurance exchanges that the states assemble in their own way create the Travelocity of health insurance buying. You can compare all the plans side-by-side with confusing insurance terms defined and then buy the cheaper one. When people can clearly find the cheaper plan that fits their needs and they buy it, this causes other companies to compete. In order to sell insurance they must put downward pressure on their prices, or the cheaper plan will get all the sales.
This is a sample of an insurance exchange that many states will use. You log in and this is what you see. It brings health insurance to the simplicity of comparing different TV models on bestbuy.com
A federal exchange that helps you find a cheaper plan is already online. This is a more basic exchange than what states will replace this with. You can use the tool to find a cheaper plan for yourself here.
Repealing Obamacare means removing the tools that help you find the cheapest insurance on the free market and put competitive pressures on private insurance companies to lower costs.
Instead of the free market, by repealing Obamacare you get more people's costs socialized through the system and coming out of your wallet.
Again, while the law was being written Romney praised Obama for copying the free market model of insurance exchanges that Romney created in Massachusetts. Obama is copying it because it was successful. View the short video of Romney praising Obama for copying the system of free market exchanges here.
Yes, Romney attacks these now too. Like I said, Romney is not called Etch A Sketch for nothing.
Addressing the critic's worries who want to repeal the ACA and return to Socialism
Cost of the Law
Yes, the numbers look large. A price tag of $1 trillion sounds like a lot. Where were Republicans complaining when we spent $1 trillion in Iraq? This is about spending money at home. Maybe Democrats are more concerned with spending money to the benefit of Americans than they are about blowing people up in the Middle East.
To pay for the law, Democrats slashed programs of lower priority and government socialist programs that weren't efficient like Medicare Advantage. As stated above, there were so many programs cut that the ACA reduces the deficit by a total of $100 billion over ten years vs. the myth that it will increase the deficit.
What do we spend now? Annually, health care costs are 23% of all government expenditures. That totals around $890 billion. Over ten years, with increased retirement of baby boomers, the total costs are about $11.2 trillion. That includes the $1 trillion the Affordable care act spends to reduce costs and cover 30 million more Americans.
In a system where $11.2 trillion is spent in a decade, is it a tremendous amount to spend $1 trillion on cost cutting measures that reduce the deficit by $100 billion?
Tax penalties applied elsewhere
Critics fear that the government could make tax penalties to compel you to do other things like eat broccoli. But, the comparison is not sound. Inactivity in the broccoli market does not lead to the free-ridership of eating broccoli.
In health care, inactivity does lead to free-ridership. If someone goes to the grocery store (vs. going to the hospital) and they eat broccoli while standing on Aisle 3 they are stealing and will go to jail. When people refuse to pay for medical service because of inactivity - where they have not bought insurance or saved for these risky times - the costs are just passed on to you.
You should not fear the costs being passed on to the free riders and be excited about you paying for them.
If the Affordable Care Act is repealed you will then be responsible for paying the costs of the uninsured. Socialism returns and sucks money out of your wallet.
Tax increases through the law
Taxes will increase on people who earn about $90,000 per year - four times the poverty level - who refuse to buy insurance. They don't have to buy insurance, they won't go to jail, but if they don't buy it they pay into the pool that will cover their costs when they skip town without paying their own hospital bills.
The tax increase is just about enough to cover the costs that the uninsured bring to your wallet every day.
Below that level the ACA is the deepest tax cut in history. Through tax credits the working poor who buy insurance will receive about $4800 to cover the costs. Lower middle class people will also receive this tax cut.
It is cheaper to subsidize people to have insurance than what we have under previous law. Instead of someone with diabetes costing thousands upon thousands to you, me, hospitals, and the government when they show up at the emergency room needing a toe amputation - insured diabetic patients will be able to afford the far cheaper insulin.
Repealing Obamacare returns to the previous system of patients showing up to emergency rooms for treatments that are far more costly.
Repealing Obamacare would be the greatest tax increase on the poor and lower middle class because Obamacare is one of the deepest tax cuts in history.
Number of pages in the law
The Affordable Care Act is 2500 pages of methods for reducing the costs of health care and insurance. Every solid cost cutting idea was made law. People fear that the ACA will increase prices, but those fears are unfounded. Over the past decade insurance premiums went up 131%. Going back to that system is what we should be afraid of.
Yes, it is 2500 pages long. But, is 2500 pages too long if everything in the law is made to benefit you?
People fear the unknown, but the Affordable Care Act is one of the most transparent laws in history. You can find out key features, then look in the full text of the law for the complete language, then look at a simple timeline of what is changing and when on www.healthcare.gov.
Note: A defense authorization bill is usually around 1400 pages.
All laws are getting longer because polarization in Congress generates a justifiable fear that leaders won't get another chance to pass something. So, they put everything that they want to do into one big bill. That is how you end up with these meaty bills.
These politicians fears are warranted because both sides have used the filibuster to block laws. Republicans have used the filibuster to block 132 laws including while Democrats had the majority. This has created a condition where a super-majority is required to get any work done.
Thus, when the chance to get work done arises, they put everything in these.
Some people fear the uncertainty of change
Are you afraid and uncertain because you don't know what change is ahead? That is understandable. Don't lay the responsibility for that fear on the law. You need to follow through with your own due diligence to review closely the elements that scare you and also understand that the entire law is meant to benefit you.
For example, the law includes a Patient's Bill of Rights. The bill of rights repairs the most egregious insurance company abuses such as canceling your insurance when you get sick.
Repeal of Obamacare means you lose all the protections of the Patient's Bill of Rights.
Stop being afraid and learn how this benefits you. Obama created a four minute video to describe the benefits to you. After the Supreme Court ruling Obama addressed the nation stating more of the benefits to you. He explains more of the benefits here.
While government programs have their flaws, many are run very well. The military that America created is the most powerful in the history of the world.
Rather than creating a new government run single payer health care plan, the ACA works to solve the biggest problems in the current system to cover more people and cut costs that affect your wallet.
While I can't feel certain that everything will work as advertised, I've chosen to be brave and see what happens. The government we have has helped create the greatest wealth generating system in the history of mankind. Maybe, just maybe... if we have the courage to see this through it will work as advertised.
Why do I feel courageous enough to see what happens?
Obama copied Romneycare because it worked in Massachusetts. Ninety-eight percent of people were covered and about three-fourths of residents like the plan. Obama actually hired the same team that Romney used. Now that Romney has made a new picture on his Etch A Sketch, the team that wrote both laws is pissed.
I'm not afraid because true to the design of our democracy Obama used the states as the laboratory for the best ideas to bring nationally. All the parts of the Affordable Care Act already work as Romneycare.
Watch Romney call out by name the team that wrote the ACA in this video when Romneycare passed.
So should we repeal Obamacare?
Only if you want a return to the free rider problem that socializes the costs and makes you pay for the uninsured.
Only if you want to lose the Patient's Bill of Rights. If you want insurance companies to be able to drop your coverage when you get sick.
Only if you want 2500 pages of things that benefit you removed.
Only if you want the inefficient Medicare Advantage socialist program put back into place.
Only if you want the deficit to add 100 billion dollars more over this decade that the Affordable Care Act saves.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act is a return to socialism that I don't support.
I don't want to continue paying $1000 in increased insurance premiums because I have to pay for the uninsured.
I don't want to continue paying $1000 more annually in higher taxes because the losses are socialized through the government.
I don't want to pay for those who are irresponsible and reckless when it comes to their own health.
I want free riders to pay for themselves.
Am I sure this will all work perfectly?
No, but I sure as heck don't want to go back to the socialist mess that we had before.
I want to move FORWARD.