The week of October 13 is Healthcare Solutions Week, a collaborative campaign to examine new healthcare reform ideas. Along with our partners, we are promoting the central purpose of the campaign. As Healthcare Solutions Week organizers noted:
“For too long, we’ve had a debate about the politics of health care, not the solutions that bring better health. The fact is, our health care system had complex and serious issues that needed addressing, and while the ACA may have been a well-intentioned response, it’s time to move past the politics and acknowledge that the status quo isn’t working. We need a new solution for our health care problems.”
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) features centralization of health care by the federal government and requires insurance exchanges that offer tightly regulated plans which Americans are coerced into buying via taxation. Supporters hoped the Act would provide health insurance to all Americans by overcoming what they perceived as failures in the health insurance market.
Unfortunately, the market for health insurance was hardly free when the ACA was passed. Many of the prior problems came from market-distorting regulations. Introducing more complex regulation, centralized decision-making, and price controls will make matters worse. Thus the ACA is fundamentally a vain attempt to fight the symptoms of big government with even bigger government. This has already produced or begun to produce several problems here in Ohio:
1. Premiums and deductibles have risen steeply for those previously insured, while many of the previously uninsured have still been unable or unwilling to obtain coverage. For example, the average Ohioan’s premium rose 41% from 2012-2013.
2. There is decreased choice among available insurance plans, including coverage of providers (doctors and hospitals) and prescription drugs. Further, while more people may have health insurance, the problem of access to actual health care is exacerbated by the increased demand on an already-strained system.
3. The law skews incentives so that businesses are discouraged from increasing payrolls while simultaneously reducing the employee’s rewards to work, which increases dependence and hurts families. This is particularly true of Medicaid expansion under the ACA and demands that Ohio reconsider expansion.
4. Higher government expenditures and a weaker labor force are troubling the future prospects of Ohio’s private economy.
But hope yet lingers on the horizon, and many individuals and organizations with interests in health care reform — including The Buckeye Institute — are working to implement more effective policies at the state and national level. These policies advocate for a system where a free and innovative market revolves around the wants and needs of individual patients — not arbitrary and ever-changing government mandates — and the most generous benefits are reserved for those who truly cannot support themselves.
For more information, including cutting-edge ACA reform ideas, stories of Americans negatively impacted by the ACA, and ways to get involved, please visit http://www.HealthcareSolutionsWeek.org.