Our View: Obamacare’s needed structure keeps it limping along

September 12, 2018

Health care delivery – specifically the Affordable Care Act – is rising as a top campaign issue in the Congressional mid-term elections. It’s also a key topic in the U.S. Senate’s nomination process for the Supreme Court vacancy.

It’s also had its day in court, again, this time in federal court in Texas, with dozens of states lined up in support or opposition depending upon their respective red or blue orientation.

The sweeping health care act, better known as Obamacare, remains the law that many love to hate. It’s also a law filled with contradicting emotions and thoughts.

Witness the Trump Administration, which declined to legally represent the law in the Texas case. At the same time, the administration warned that it would create chaos if the law went away too quickly.

That’s the crux of it: Obamacare is a predictable mess of an exercise in socialism. It makes no financial sense, surviving on government expansion of subsidized health care at both the federal and state level.

It lends structure, though, to an otherwise dysfunctional health care marketplace characterized both by rapidly rising costs and a growing number of citizens left behind.

Rapid removal of Obamacare would indeed bring chaos to a system that needs to be fixed in the private marketplace, not in Congress or statehouses.

Congress knows that and that fear was behind the failure to repeal Obamacare in Congress. But candidates in many races this year are making repeal or adjustment a very big deal.

The issue is only complicated by the fact that many parts of the legislation enjoy widespread popularity – such as coverage for preexisting conditions — even as the overall law is pilloried.

The law does need updating with mandates fully repealed but consumer protections retained. It needs to move the marketplace back into the private sector allowing insurance companies and providers to negotiate the financial side of things while providing coverage opportunities for the poor.

It may be a poor structure, but Obamacare provides some continuity in a marketplace that was previously an anything-goes Wild West show.

— Today’s News-Herald

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