Right On: Ending Obamacare As We Know It

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: >[email protected]

Twitter: >@STGnews

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

Source : http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2018/04/05/right-on-ending-obamacare-as-we-know-it/

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