America’s health care system is far more expensive than those of other western nations. Yet at the point of service, it also delivers quick and quality treatment.
Moreover, U.S. medical researchers are responsible for the vast majority of global medical advances: discoveries that save and improve millions of lives. Yet the U.S. health care system has never been perfect. In turn, President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) was sold as a fix for the imperfections in American health care and a shield for the positives. Obamacare would, the president said, protect individually tailored coverage, expand health care access and reduce costs. The president promised that his law would be a win-win.
Reality has offered a different verdict: Obamacare is a disaster. Insurance premiums are soaring across the nation. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts Obamacare will cost the equivalent of 2 million jobs over the next 10 years. Major insurance companies are preparing to abandon Obamacare to stanch heavy losses. What’s more, Obamacare has been especially unfair to younger Americans, sending our insurance premiums into the stratosphere in return for pathetic coverage. Again, I’m not suggesting that pre-Obamacare health care was perfect: as the millions of uninsured Americans attested, it plainly was not. Thus, as I’ve argued, GOP replacement plans for Obamacare should be bold; reforming the American Medical Association’s treatment-price setting monopoly, and expanding market access for primary-care trained doctors.
But we cannot ignore reality: Obamacare is a clear and present policy failure. Today, millions of American families are suffering from Obama’s ineptitude. By expanding demand for health care without increases in supply, and by failing to bend the cost-curve in any systemic way (recent declines in health expenditure are due to the recession, not recent reforms), President Obama has made Americans pay much more for much less. Where poorer Americans have been abandoned to a broken, specialist-short Medicaid bureaucracy, lower-middle income families have lost their access to preferred doctors and individually tailored plans. These Americans are now numbers in Obama’s legacy project.
We cannot ignore reality: Obamacare is a clear and present policy failure
And things are getting worse. As Obamacare’s structural failures reverberate, Americans will face increasing premiums and increasingly impersonal health care plans. On this point, it is critical to challenge those who claim Obamacare premium subsidies will alleviate American hardship. After all, these government subsidies do not represent a money magic-tree, but rather a further deficit-ballooning redistribution of taxpayer money into the dysfunctional government bureaucracy.
Unfortunately, health care is just one of a number of crucial concerns in which Obama’s ineptitude is causing havoc. Take the energy market. As I’ve noted for Opportunity Lives, President Obama’s energy policy — supported by his would-be successor, Hillary Clinton — is an enemy of good jobs, of taxpayers, of lower-energy bills, and of national security. But it’s not just energy and health care, it’s also the regulatory fetish with which liberals now attack the economy and the sad delusion by which they pay fealty to the false elixir of government.
All of this should lead to an inexorable conclusion: the need for conservative leadership is urgent.