Now comes the hard part. The house passing health care repeal and replace legislation is a significant short-term win for President Trump, but it won’t mean anything lest he can wrangle the Senate’s support. And that won’t be easy.
Clearly the bill is going to be put through the ringer in the Senate, as it should, and it will likely undergo significant changes and modifications before and if it is enacted into law, but make no mistake, this was an important political step for Washington, D.C., as it has moved into the post-Obama era.
The step was very important as many health care and economics expert would tell you Obamacare was failing.
Nearly the entire state of Iowa will be without exchange options next year as insurers have bugged out.
Aetna announced this week they are pulling out of Virginia.
Molina Health care lost $110 million on the exchanges in 2016.
Simply put, reforming the system is important and badly needed.
The number of reasons for Obamacare’s failure are many:
- Straitjacketed insurers into providing harshly expensive, soup-to-nuts policies without flexibility.
- The penalties for not having coverage weren’t harsh enough. For many it was better to skip the exchange.
- Obamacare failed to tame medical costs. Nothing is free; someone pays, always.
- Carriers can’t cover expenses thanks to a rigidly controlled system. In 2016, for every dollar Blue Shield collected, it spent $1.32 buying care and providing service.
It’s far too early to pontificate on the nuances of what this repeal and replace effort will look like after it will no doubt undergo dramatic changes in the Senate. And it’s fair to say that what it looks like on the other side won’t be known for a while, but we do know that Republicans in the House made a calculated gamble. That simply doing nothing and allowing premiums to skyrocket and coverage to phase out in states is not an acceptable path for their constituents.
Better get ready for a new health care debate. It will be THE topic for Democrats in the 2018 election cycle.