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The Pandora Box that is universal health care
La Voz Staff Photo

By David Conde

I saw a television report during the presidential campaign that made me laugh through a rather deep sadness. It was reported that there were people voting in the election that hated ObamaCare but felt better about the Affordable Care Act.

They did not appear to be aware that both names referred to the same program. It seems that the dislike for our only Black president has been such that anything with his name on it is automatically bad.

Perhaps one of these people is Kathy Brawley, a 55 year-old first-time voter from Monroe, North Carolina that voted for President Donald Trump and now appears to be having buyer’s remorse. She has been informed that the $8,688 health insurance subsidy she gets under the existing program will become only a $3,500 tax credit under the proposed TrumpCare program that has passed the first committees in Congress.

Four and a half years ago, I attended a family reunion where a couple of cousins expressed vehement opposition to ObamaCare because they felt they had been lied to about a program that performed very much below its rhetoric. They were particularly put out by a policy they felt they were forced to buy that made them responsible for the first $16,000 of a major medical occurrence which to them made it worthless.

I asked them how much they paid for their policy and they stated that it was less than $300 a month. It is clear that they would have to buy more expensive insurance to get a lower deductible.

The repeal and replacement of ObamaCare promises higher costs especially for older people and a retreat from the goal of having everyone covered. Having said that, TrumpCare like ObamaCare are really no different in the challenges they face as both represent a public-private partnership opened to the strong winds of the marketplace and the spiraling costs of healthcare.

That is why Republicans are looking for quick action in Congress without even waiting for the analysis of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that would no doubt reveal that they have bought into a Pandora’s box of unrealized expectations on the part of the American people that they perhaps never thought of fulfilling. However, the Republicans expressed so much hatred for Obama and the Affordable Care Act that now they have to follow-through on their promise to repeal and replace it.

Universal healthcare is a noble concept that has been bouncing in and out of American awareness for over 100 years. Since the days of Theodore Roosevelt and his 1912 presidential campaign, the idea of everyone having medical insurance has gained prominence. At that time, the United States was still copying European ideas and if it had not been for the opposition of the American Medical Association over the years, universal healthcare and socialized medicine would be one of our major national institutions today.

As things stand however, it appears that any approach to universal healthcare in America has to take the form of a public-private partnership where insurance investors and the medical professionals have the opportunity to make a profit from serving the sick. Government medicine is not in the current philosophy of our culture.

So the Democrats and ObamaCare are scheduled to hand off the national insurance hot potato to the Republicans and TrumpCare. There is no going back as the American people especially the Boomers are insistent on having comprehensive coverage in an environment that is bracing for higher and higher costs for our healthcare.





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