House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, who had initially opposed the American Health Care Act, said Thursday, just hours before the measure was to come to a House vote, that he eventually changed his mind because there is now a bill that is better than it was when it started.
“Actually, it drives down premiums,” the North Carolina Republican told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. “The first bill that came out actually had an increase in premiums in the short term.”
No bill passed by politicians will drive down premiums. Only a free market can do that. A free market will not guarantee lower premiums; however, the incentives of a free market create the tendency to drive down costs over time, especially for mass market products or services.
What we need is a free market for medicine. The same way we have a (more or less) free market for groceries, restaurants, clothing, automobiles, haircuts, computers, smart phones and all kinds of other things.
Repealing Obamacare alone would not have given us a free market. In his campaign, Donald Trump talked about repealing Obamacare and replacing it with free market measures such as buying insurance across state lines — a truly minimal reform that should be easy to pass in a Republican Congress. Yet we’re not even seeing that. What we’re seeing is a measure designed to make career politicians able to say, “Look, we repealed Obamacare.” Well, that’s technically true. But what we got is not a whole lot better. The triumph here is political, not substantive.
On Thursday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Your World,” Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) argued the revised American Health Care Act is “the first time that Republicans have affirmatively put their stamp of approval on a program where federal money, taxpayer money, is paid to insurance companies.” He later characterized subsidizing insurance companies as “deplorable.”
Rand said the House Freedom Caucus “made the bill a lot less bad.” He added, “But what I’m still concerned with is, this’ll the first time that Republicans have affirmatively put their stamp of approval on a program where federal money, taxpayer money, is paid to insurance companies. … And it boggles my mind how that became a Republican idea.”
Republicans lost sight of the bigger picture. They sacrificed principle for a desire to say that they did something. Understandably, Donald Trump wants a legislative victory to pave the way for tax cuts and reforms, things that will certainly help improve the private economy to some degree. But there are so many missed opportunities here. Trump’s surprising victory last November provided an opportunity to repeal Obamacare once and for all, instead of cobbling together a wimpy alternative that will ultimately please nobody. Why are Republicans so timid and so afraid? Why are they afraid to take any risks? It’s because they reside, work and make their living off “the swamp” of Washington DC. They cash in on the contradictions of most Americans — including most Trump voters, sadly. Most Americans want the benefits of a free market — choice, liberty, variety, price competition — along with the alleged security that a socialist/Communist-lite system of “security” always promises and never delivers. You’re never going to get both.
For now, Republicans will rejoice in their victory. Before long, we’ll all wake up to the fact that little or nothing has changed in health care, because we did not get the free market reforms Republicans have promised for a decade or more. Donald Trump may have kept his promise to “do something” about Obamacare. But “something” is not enough to make health care rational, competent, excellent and competitive again. Only decisive movement in a free market direction could have done that.
Only doctors can save us now. Until or unless they go “on strike” and opt out of the government-run system we still have, not much will change. Just the other day, I heard of a local doctor dropping Medicare for routine outpatient care and replacing it with “concierge” self-pay medicine. Forget the politicians. They will continue to fail us. It’s up to real people living in the real world to bring about change, in health care and everything else.
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