I have always been a pragmatist. This has served me well in my chosen profession, insurance agent, where my main function is to solve problems. My focus is the most direct route from Point A to Point B. But what happens if the people in charge have no interest in finding Point B and are busy debating the existence of Point A? That is the reality of the current health care debate.
During Tuesday evening’s State of The Union Address, President Trump proudly noted that he had eliminated the Individual Mandate? Why? Not why was he proud? Donald trump announces his accomplishments like a 3 year old standing by a potty. No, why was he proud, specifically, of eliminating the Individual Mandate? How does that help anyone access or pay for health care?
The answer, of course, is that the President has absolutely no idea what he did or how his actions will impact the cost of health insurance. The elimination of a portion of the nuts and bolts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), especially one with Republican roots, does not hurt the former President’s feelings. That may be the motivation, but the elimination of the Individual Mandate can only lead to higher premiums.
We have just entered the month of February. The insurance companies are still frantically trying to finalize all of the policies and changes that were crammed into this most recent Open Enrollment. Other departments are busy planning for 2019. We are only months from the insurers’ initial filings. How in the world can any insurer plan for 2019?
Neither the White House nor the Republican controlled Congress appear to be doing anything with health care. The issue has fallen off their radar screens. Not only wasn’t there a real Republican alternative to Obamacare, there also doesn’t appear to be any interest in creating one. They have moved on. But we haven’t.
The President received tepid applause from his Congressional cheering section when he noted the high cost of prescription drugs at the SOTU. Someone forgot to tell him how much the pharmaceutical industry has invested in this Congress. But let’s pretend that he and Congress were interested in getting a handle on these out of control costs. Who amongst them would take the lead? What, if anything, would get done?
The first step is to craft a consensus defining Point A and Point B. Then we might have a chance to improve the delivery and payment of health care in this country. Until then, what’s the point?
Photo – A Couple of Dollars’ Worth – David L. Cunix