Fixing America’s Healthcare Debacle
“If Obamacare is so wonderful, why is it that its loudest advocates don’t want to be subject to it?” —Ted Cruz, pointing out that lawmakers hypocritically exempted themselves from Obamacare.
The Powers of Congress
Obamacare is a law that usurps the powers of the states granted them under the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This means all governance of healthcare comes under the aegis of the states or private families. We know this, because the powers of Congress are carefully enumerated in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution. And the regulation of medical care is not an enumerated power.
Now, there are those who object to the claim that the Congress has no power to regulate or run healthcare. In order to justify their opposing contention, many like to cite the General Welfare Clause which says that Congress may “provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.” However, the term “general welfare,” as used by the Founders, means taking care to provide for such things as public infrastructure, law enforcement, and border security—in which all citizens may equally share the benefit. The term did not refer to redistributionist welfare schemes or healthcare taxes.
Others have claimed that the Commerce Clause justifies a government role for healthcare, in that Congress is allowed to “regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” But this is a reference to making sure that there is a level playing field for everyone in terms of having fair rules for all. This language was never a justification for taking over an entire sector of the economy. Nor does the plain language of the Constitution, which allows for regulation of commerce, also allow the government to require commerce by penalizing inaction on the part of any American choosing not to engage in purchasing a particular product; in other words, Obamacare’s Individual Mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance is un-Constitutional.
A Flawed Ruling by the Supreme Court
On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a finding that, while the Individual Mandate was indeed un-Constitutional, Obamacare was valid as a tax under the federal government’s power to create new forms of taxation—which Obamacare indeed was.
The problem with this Supreme Court ruling is its un-Constitutionality, given that fact that all taxes must begin in the House of Representatives, per Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution, while the version of Obamacare that was made law actually started in the Senate.
Besides Being Illegal, Obamacare Is Also Failing
Besides being un-Constitutional, Obamacare simply does not work. All of the taxation, regulation, and other expenses imposed by this law have forced the entire system to begin to collapse under its own weight. The cheapest Obamacare plans available, the ones with the lowest monthly payments, now have average deductibles of $11,000, which means that, while people may have access to insurance, they do not, in reality, have ready access to healthcare. Thus, the Obamacare law—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as it were—actually misses its dual purpose of protecting patients and providing affordable care.
Fixing the Problem
In order to drive prices down and quality up, a free market in healthcare is needed. Competition in a nationwide marketplace, across state lines, must be instituted for matters to improve. High-risk pools should be created for those who cannot procure healthcare due to pre-existing conditions. The Medicaid money allotted to pay for insuring such individuals should be block-granted to the states for them to manage. Also, a rule might be written allowing families to carry their children until the age of twenty-six, if they choose to do so.
Overcoming Logistical Challenges
By repealing Obamacare, turning healthcare rules over to the states, and offering to block-grant Medicaid money to the states to help cover hard cases, the government can move healthcare closer to the people, potentially saving many more lives.
If transition to a free-market system seems logistically problematic, the government could simply allow people who wish to keep their Obamacare to do so. Besides repealing forced conscription into Obamacare, the Congress could also allow people who wish to continue with their Obamacare plans to keep them, if they prefer the more expensive insurance to the free-market plans in competition with it.
However, once better insurance becomes available, at a lower price and a lower deductible, who is going to want to keep the more expensive, harder to use, insurance? It is pretty safe to say that, a year after the healthcare fix goes into effect, takers for Obamacare will be relatively few. And states administering block-granted Medicaid funds for the poor, as well as for those in high-risk pools, will likely choose to use those funds to invest in less costly plans on the free market, thereby saving more money or helping more people, or both. In a short period, Obamacare will die of its own accord, withering on the vine, so to speak.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com