Right On: Ending Obamacare as we know it

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OPINION — Individual choice may be returning to the health insurance market.

Streamlined, short-term health insurance, courtesy of the Trump administration, may end Obamacare as we know it. Those wanting to escape the Obamacare yoke would have options to do so, while those who want government-dictated coverage could stay.

For most in the middle class, Obamacare’s promised benefits have turned out to be nonexistent. For example, no, you can’t keep your insurance. No, health care costs have not been reined in.

Yes, your health insurance must include a number of services that you may not want or need. Yes, your insurance premiums have more than doubled since 2013. Yes, they will jump significantly again this fall.

Even worse, Obamacare premiums are regressive, charging the same premiums for lower-income millennials as for older, higher-income beneficiaries. It’s a textbook example of the haughty nanny state liberals favor.

Democrats did all this knowing full well that Obamacare was filled with contradictions. But they were sure that a future Democratic-controlled Congress could step in and redeem the situation with single-payer health care, their unstated goal.

Uncertainty about Obamacare’s future has left many Americans clinging to an Obamacare they believe still needs significant changes.

Republicans took their first major step toward reducing that uncertainty by repealing the unpopular insurance coverage mandate. The mandate penalized healthy young people who chose not to buy overpriced insurance so that premiums for older and less healthy folks could be set well below cost.

Republicans’ next step is in progress.

Are you ready to select your own health insurance policy from a variety of competing companies, picking and choosing the kinds of coverage you want at a price that reflects your age and health?

The Trump administration has seized on an Obamacare provision that allows purchasing short-term health insurance for up to a year’s duration. Obamacare’s architects envisioned these policies as stopgaps for those who lost jobs and were temporarily uninsured.

Short-term insurance isn’t required to provide the full and expensive benefits mandated by Obamacare. And it doesn’t come with its cost, either.

In Obamacare’s early days, some enterprising citizens seized on this provision to avoid irrationally-high Obamacare costs by purchasing a succession of these lower-cost, lower-benefit policies year after year.

Unwilling to see anyone escape paying excessive premiums for coverages they did not want or need, the Obama administration shortened these policies by rule to three-month durations. But as liberals have discovered to their chagrin, rules can be rescinded or changed.

And that is exactly what the Trump administration’s revised rule will allow: streamlined, temporary health insurance policies that can be offered for up to one year’s duration as permitted by current law.

Idaho jumped to the head of the line, seeking federal permission – almost certain to be granted – to allow insurance companies to offer these policies in the state. Blue Cross of Idaho has proposed to offer five “Freedom Blue” plans outside of the state’s Obamacare exchange.

“Freedom” is the operative word.

These plans, as well as offerings from other insurers sure to follow, will be very popular with Idahoans. Given a choice, why would any millennial or young family pay exorbitant premiums to subsidize older, less healthy folks?

Need I say that liberals are hopping mad? How dare Trump and the state of Idaho allow people to make choices on their own? Don’t these people know what’s good for them? Expect legal challenges.

But the Trump administration is following the letter of the Obamacare law, something Obama himself didn’t bother to do over 40 times while issuing over 20,000 pages of regulations to implement a 2,700-page, hastily-drawn and ill-considered law.

Where Idaho goes, expect other states to follow, especially the 33 states with Republican governors.

This likely cascade of lower-cost health insurance could be undone by a Democratic president in 2020 or 2024. As Trump has shown, rules are subject to change.

But doing that would place Democrats at risk once folks get used to these lower-cost policies. Turning back the clock would provoke howls of protest of the kind that spawned the Tea Party and led to Republican congressional majorities after Obamacare was enacted.

It will take congressional action to make these policies permanently available nationwide. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming has introduced such legislation but it faces an uncertain future in a polarized Congress.

So what will happen in the meantime to Obamacare and the government-run exchanges peddling overpriced health insurance?

Obamacare will devolve into what it should have been in the first place: a federally-subsidized, high-risk insurance pool. Those with pre-existing conditions and those unable to afford even lower-cost policies would continue to find government-subsidized Obamacare coverage.

Will Democrats be willing to let the uneducated, unwashed and deplorable masses make decisions on their own? Or will the liberal elite in Washington D.C. continue to seek ways to impose its will on the country?

After all, liberals know better than we do what’s good for us.

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: hsierer@stgeorgeutah.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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50 Comments

  • commonsense April 5, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    Obamacare will go down as the single event most responsible for the demise of Democrat power.
    It was poor legislation without any bipartisan support. The next midterm election sent Dems packing and changed history.

    Trump is cleaning up DC politics slowly but steadily purging members of both parties. Leftists only answer is manufactured chaos, protest, resistance and innuendo. The world is truly safer with ISIS gone and China, Russia and North Korea being held accountable for the first time in decades.

    • Death Valley April 6, 2018 at 7:06 am

      The sheer delusion in your comments is a fascinating study in how right-wing propaganda seeps into the brain and slowly rots it away. “Leftists only answer is manufactured chaos, protest, resistance and innuendo.” Wow, just wow.

    • No Filter April 6, 2018 at 9:00 am

      I agree that the ACA did hurt the Democrats, but the rest of your comment is pure BS. Trump is not cleaning up DC, he is doing everything he can to stay in power long enough to fix things to benefit his businesses and trademarked name, like the new tax laws that save him and his friends millions. As far as China, Russia, and North Korea being held accountable that is a load of crab. China is still doing everything it wants and continues to grow into the world superpower. Russia still does not have the sanctions on them that congress approved last year, and North Korea is now working with China. Yeah it sounds like he is doing a great job at holding them accountable.

  • dhamilton2002 April 5, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    If the ACA is so horrible how is it that every other industrialized country on earth has some form of universal healthcare. You are an idiot!!!!

    • Utahguns April 6, 2018 at 5:57 am

      Looks like your sleep meds kicked before you got on the computer….

    • Craig April 6, 2018 at 8:36 am

      Because we are not told the whole truth about their healthcare. Are you teady to be put on a two year wait for a new hip when you need one? England just implemented a new ban – unless you are your ideal BMI you cannot have a hip or knee replacement. It also cancelled thousamds of surgeties because the system was out of money.

      Yrs, government bureaucratic panels decide health care.

      You really cannot have something for free because you actually run out of other peoples money. How is it oaid for? Look at all theit taxes. Are you ready to pay 50% or 60% tax on a new car?

      Its important to understand whst their free healthcare really is. If its gree and wonderful, why csn those who have the money, buy private healthcare.

  • stg-anon April 5, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Great plan

    The young and dumb buy worthless plans that don’t cover anything, while the people who want and need actual insurance get to watch their premiums skyrocket

    The only thing Trump is accomplishing is to prove that the Republican narrative of “repeal and replace” was never anything more than a lie

    • Craig April 6, 2018 at 8:37 am

      You do moy understand very much anout socialized medicine tealities.

    • PogoStik April 6, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      The “young and dumb” as you say will be old someday and require more health assistance. So will the new “young and dumb” generation thumb their nose at them too?

  • bikeandfish April 6, 2018 at 1:24 am

    I disagreed with the passage of the ACA despite believing in some of its components. Its ritualistic destruction was predictable despite the obvious flaws of repeal without replacement. Men like Howard must not know what its like to stuck with a pre-existing condition that hampers being able to move for a different job. A Hallmark of middleclass-ness is geographic mobility which is extremely risky given the cost one can incur from uncovered medical problems. Nor do all of us have the means to just sick it up and pay higher premiums for conditions we had no contribution in.

    Both sides are responsible for this mess. We would be wise to realize how untenable health insurance was before the ACA. It was a problematic and flawed law and the individual mandate was justified through dishonest means. But we can’t go backwards unless we are willing to accept that millions of Americans will lose their tenuous grip on being middle class for no fault of their own. Our financial reality is not consistent with Howard’s ideology; times have changed and we need pundits who understand that.

  • Utahguns April 6, 2018 at 5:45 am

    I didn’t care for spinach much when I was growing up.
    I’m glad I didn’t have to pay a portion of my allowance to the government as a penalty.

  • Death Valley April 6, 2018 at 7:24 am

    The United States of America.
    Where your health means nothing unless you can afford it.

    • Craig April 6, 2018 at 8:28 am

      Who donyou believe should be psying your bills?

      • John April 6, 2018 at 2:35 pm

        death valley thinks everybody else should pay, bernie supporters are known to be very imaginative and very misinformed. They have no problem spending other people’s money but can’t get it through their thick skulls that eventually other people’s money runs out. How’s that free pony from bernie working out for you DV?

        • Death Valley April 6, 2018 at 3:41 pm

          Bernie? Keep telling yourself that, you ignorant hick. I wanted nothing to do with the 2016 candidates.
          The trouble with people like you is, all you want to do is cause trouble. The rest of us want to throw people like you off a cliff and save our country. Your ignorance is staggering, John. Simply staggering.

          • John April 6, 2018 at 4:19 pm

            Come get me raisin brained turd muffin !! Sorry but I’m not ignorant like you, I won’t take the programming like you apparently did. If you don’t vote you really have no right to complain either. so shut the frog up ! Loser. Keep the space between you ears filled with that leftist attitude and you’ll walk off a cliff when they tell you to. You are definitely part of the group referred to as useful idiots.

          • Death Valley April 6, 2018 at 4:48 pm

            Keep rambling, Johnboy. Your crap falls on deaf ears.

          • John April 6, 2018 at 6:38 pm

            you heard it deaf boy, hahahahahahahaha!

      • Death Valley April 6, 2018 at 4:47 pm

        @Craig
        I do believe in paying my bills. In fact, I prefer to cash pay any time I see the doctor. Why? Because health insurance is a scam. I dropped my provider because I watched my premiums/deductible skyrocket $3000 over a 4 year period. My last deductible was approaching $8000 per year. I’m sorry, but that’s insane. I’m lucky I can afford it. Those who can’t afford it get bupkus. I ask you, how is that fair?

  • commonsense April 6, 2018 at 7:50 am

    “Right wing propaganda “ is based on reality, not delusion, diversion and false hope.
    Venture over to fact-based news sources and see the world as it really is, not how you wish it could be.

    • PatriotLiberal April 6, 2018 at 8:16 am

      “Venture over to fact-based news sources and see the world as it really is, not how you wish it could be.”

      I will. What fact based news sources do you recommend?

    • No Filter April 6, 2018 at 9:06 am

      Please do tell us of your fact based news sources. Not joking I really want to know! Because I don’t know of any news that I can believe.

    • Death Valley April 6, 2018 at 9:20 am

      Fact-based news sources, he says. HAHA!
      And what “fact-based” news sources would you be referring to, hmmm? FoxNews and Breitbart? Washington Examiner? Gateway Pundit? Or any other of your fascist “conservative” news sites? Please provide links to real news sources. Not news sources for “alternative facts” and right-wing propaganda.

      “Right wing propaganda “ is based on reality, not delusion, diversion and false hope.”
      So you admit that you’re a propagandist? Okay then. If that’s your definition of reality, your reality is extremely narrow-minded and slim. Unable to see the big picture, you are clearly a Republican politician’s wet dream. Some people like being taken advantage of. Whether they see it or not.

      • John April 6, 2018 at 3:46 pm

        You just love proving your nickname is a description of that space between your ears ! Clueless fits..wear it proudly !

        • Death Valley April 6, 2018 at 4:27 pm

          I think it impossible for you to come up with anything original that isn’t an insult or some form of childish name calling. For someone as old as you are, you talk like a teenage punk who pulls his opinions from his backside.

          • John April 6, 2018 at 6:54 pm

            And I fling it right at your sorry pitifully illiterate liberal … Get a clue! And use that vacant space between your ears for something other than that desert dust you have been snorting. Keep hunting those unicorns , fool !
            Ed. ellipsis

          • Death Valley April 7, 2018 at 6:32 am

            The problem with you is, nobody ever taught you when to sit down and shut up.

    • John April 6, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      You can’t argue with a liberal like panty-fa, their programming won’t allow for it!

      • PatriotLiberal April 6, 2018 at 4:20 pm

        Who’s arguing? I simply asked him or her to cite their sources? Sources they claim to be “fact-based”. Also, and I really hate to point this out but, if it werent for so-called liberals we’d still be under the British monarchy.

        • John April 6, 2018 at 5:26 pm

          hahahahaha!! Your’e so funny panty-fa. The liberals of today are a bunch of mind controlled clueless morons, as you so aptly demonstrate.

  • Craig April 6, 2018 at 8:26 am

    As a physician, this is impressive.

    Actually, Obamacare is uncomstitutional. The federal government does not have the constututional authority to order us to purchase a peoduct or be fined.

    The Supreme Court lied when it called the fine a tax and, therefore, constitutional.

  • No Filter April 6, 2018 at 8:44 am

    I will admit I don’t like most of of the ACA, but parts of it were really needed. We need to have protection for people with pre-existing conditions. We need to have basic yearly check ups at no or little cost. The rest of it needs to be thrown out and fixed correctly. Single payer is the only way we are going to lower health care cost, liberal or conservative, you have to see this fact. Making it a choose your insurance based on competition between company’s looking for your money will not work. The best policies will be so high only the rich will be able to afford them. All others will get cheap insurance that doesn’t cover anything. The rich will have platinum plans and the rest of us will get wal-mart quality plans. That is the reality of our health care today and it is sad.

  • PogoStik April 6, 2018 at 9:19 am

    This is kind of a dead subject isn’t it?

  • PogoStik April 6, 2018 at 9:23 am

    And Howard, “Right On” was a leftist black power chant during the Vietnam era, but of course you knew that, didn’t you?

  • GregPainter April 6, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Government dictated health coverage? What has happened to self-reliance? It is sad that some people have health conditions that cost them a lot of money. But really, why should I be forced to pay for their problems? If my car insurance goes up will you be will to help? Maybe Americans should quit looking for a hand-out and learn self-reliance.

    • bikeandfish April 6, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      Health insurance isn’t self reliance. If you are against the individual mandate and insurance then your idea holds water. But buying insurance is about pooling costs so the individual doesn’t incur debilitating debt.

      Your car insurance comparison is apropos. My insurance premiums regularly rise despite no moving violations. Why? Because the company is taking hits from others and national issues (like the way premiums can climb after natural disasters). It suks for me but its how insurance works.

      The fact is the vast majority of Americans can’t afford the self-reliance of paying for catastrophic events. Don’t know how many major medical problems you have had but one issue can easily bankrupt a family. The ACA was messed up from day one but at least it was an attempt to solve the issue that has huge implications for the nation. We aren’t asking for handouts. We are asking fir real solutions to keep us from having our lives ruined because of health problems unrelated to day-to-day decisions. Even with better than average insurance I am paying off medical debt. Medical debt is a huge reason for bankruptcy which affects everyone.

  • comments April 6, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    A right wing solution: if you can’t afford to pay your own healthcare we’re going to put you out to die, and at the same time we’re going to allow unlimited illegal mexicans across the border to bankrupt the medicaid system (which they tried to do, because no right-winger republicans ever even talked about it before trump).

    Every citizen should have access to healthcare without being bankrupted by it. Notice I said CITIZEN. We can’t provide health coverage to all of the 3rd world. A socialized healthcare system can function extremely well–the profit incentive shouldn’t be what dictates a health system. It all depends on who is running things at the top. There has to be true leadership that actually cares about the people, not just a motive of greed and power.

    • John April 6, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2017 finds that wait times for medically necessary treatment hit a new record in 2017 at 21.2 weeks—the longest ever recorded. The study, an annual survey of physicians from across Canada, finds Ontario again recorded the shortest wait time at 15.4 weeks—nearly four months—and New Brunswick recorded the longest wait time at 41.7 weeks. Just Sayin’

      • comments April 6, 2018 at 3:31 pm

        look who canada’s president is: an imbecile man-boy or man-child, a complete piece of garbage. Take a look at canada’s immigration problems. The place has horrible policies at the current time. Your wait lists are in large part bc of all the muslim and 3rd immigration into canada. If the system is broken its because of their politicians, not bc the system can’t work, and work excellently. it all comes down to leadership.

      • Death Valley April 6, 2018 at 3:47 pm

        Site your sources, John. Otherwise, zip it.

    • Death Valley April 6, 2018 at 4:52 pm

      LMAO! More right-wing propaganda. You never fail to disappoint, Johnny. Take your meds, delusional old fool.

      • John April 6, 2018 at 7:00 pm

        It’s all right wing propaganda till you read it moron !..,Or don’t you know how to read? Should I get Rachel Maddow to do a show on it?.. Like I said , just like every leftist out there , you can’t handle facts because the MSM got you by the short hairs. !

        • Death Valley April 7, 2018 at 6:30 am

          I handle facts just fine. If you posted links to factual sources, I might take you seriously. But you don’t post links to factual material. Your “alternative” facts are not facts. They are lies. Believe the lies and they’ll come true. Right, Johnny? The only chain you continue to yank is your own. Sad old man.

          • John April 7, 2018 at 5:53 pm

            Those are the facts libtard, Like I said, you have a real problem when THE FACTS interrupt your delusion, Damn you are one stupid millenial ! Why don’t you bother checking for yourself? You lazy sheep !

          • John April 7, 2018 at 8:37 pm

            There is now no doubt about it.. your moniker does in fact refer to that vacant libtard warehouse between your ears.. Did your parents have any kids that weren’t thalidomide babies?..

          • John April 7, 2018 at 11:31 pm

            You are a perfect example of “What’s the point of being a horse’s butt if you can’t prove it !”.. Fits you perfectly ! Just like your name..hahahahahaha! What’s between your ears…absolutely nothing..!

    • bikeandfish April 6, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      Didn’t source info but first one appears legitimate at first glance. Does the US track similar data? I ask as that wait seems average from my experience from GP referral to specialist treatment here. Its rare to find an appointment for my specialist within the 90 day range and thats for an established patient. Some are better, some worse.

      The worsening of the issue in Canada seems to be more about supply of doctors than health insurance quality. Pretty similar here. Its my understanding most countries are facing shortages of medical professionals when compared to increasing demand. But its also my understanding that its the fault of licensing boards and universities who control admissions and licensing, not insurance. Its the reason we are graduating so many PAs now to fill the gap.

  • Lefty April 6, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Howard – why do you keep shaking this “liberal” boogeyman at us? You know that you are just beating on a dead straw man. To give credit where credit is due, ObamaCare should rightly be called RomneyCare because that is where Obama got the basic plan. A plan that originated with the Heritage Foundation, by the way. You know that don’t you?

    Anyway – I can’t see why a single payer health care system (aka socialized medicine) isn’t adopted in this country for no other reason than it would be the cheapest way to give the most people the best healthcare. This country as a whole pays about double for health care than the rest of the advanced countries do and many people here still get no or sub-standard care. Surely there is a better way that what we have going. Universal Health Care ran by the Federal Government (sorry to have to use the G-word) would cut out the cost of the insurance industry profits and ought to force the ending of all the private sector rackets that makes health care so expensive.

    Sure that’s socialism, but so what – lots of things in this country are – like the police and the fire department. Unless a person has a rigid ideological axe to grind they should understand that some things should be done by the private sector and some things should be a public program. It would be ridiculous to expect me to be self-reliant and provide for my own fire protection, or to have the option to buy an insurance policy that will pay for a private fire department to respond to my house fire. Remember, that a private fire department exists to make a profit and any money that they can save in their operations is a dollar in their pocket. Think of the implications. I’m more than happy now to pay every month for a service that I’m not using and others are because it’s just a good thing to have fires promptly put out when they start – irregardless of where it is and how it started. Yes, taxes would likely go up with socialized health care. But look at it this way: $500 a month is a reasonable cost now for a decent health care insurance policy. If that were replaced with socialized health care with a $12,000 per year tax increase, you would be breaking even. Factor in the savings of not paying for insurance company profits and having a lid put on what are now outrageous expenses and that yearly tax burden would be a lot less.

    ObamaCare isn’t the answer to America’s health care problems and going back to more or less what we had before sure isn’t either. When I go into the Mini Mart a see a jar on the counter begging for spare change to help pay for someone’s dire need of medical care – I’m just ashamed of what is going on in this country.

  • comments April 8, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    I’m just getting around to reading this. Howard, this is absolute garbage. Obamacare was a failure because it was written by and for the for-profit health insurance sector. Dems take kickbacks from the industry as well as your dear R-party. Are you fully ignorant of this? You think the whole game was a conspiracy concocted by “libruls”? I knew Obamacare would be a failure as soon as they dropped the “public option”. EVERYONE with a brain (who isn’t ridiculously wealthy) would have bought into what would’ve essentially have been a medicare buy-in. It would’ve likely been the end of for-profit scam “health insurance” in this country. The for-profit nature of “healthcare” in this country is one of the biggest scams in existence. A public option would’ve ushered in a socialized health system and it scared the corporatists (both drug companies and insurances) to death. And how very “kind” of you to suggest that all those “damaged goods” with chronic illnesses should be forced into a special high risk gov’t plan. You can do better, Howard–better than “THEM BIG BAD LIBRULS DONE IT!”. It’s quite tired. Get some new material.

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