Articles upon articles and news reports upon news reports have been flashed in our faces since Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) was passed and came into effect January 1, 2014. The goal of the Affordable Care Act, is right in its title: affordable healthcare for all Americans. The issue was the main platform our 44th President Barack Obama ran on, twice, and won, twice. Hotly debated in Congress, between the seemingly most partisan government in our history, each side made concessions to another, watering down the law in a way that, as it stands now, is not a permanent solution, and is not affordable to some Americans.
So how come it’s not affordable? Well, subsidies are given to people who do not reach a certain income level, which helps. On the other hand, what if you’re self-employed, make a decent living, but don’t fall short of the line that provides those subsidies? You can either pay a fine of $95 or 1% of your income, whichever is greater, to elect not to be covered or search on Healthcare.gov for an “affordable plan”. Note: If you make more than required for the subsidies, you will pay that 1%, I’ve checked.
Obviously, not being covered is not an option for most Americans, so they won’t elect to pay the fine for not being covered, especially when that fine is per person (imagine a family of four!). We’ve not established a certain situation; a self-employed person, they are not provided health insurance through a company, they need to be covered, they need their family to be covered. Through going on the Healthcare.gov website, you can get covered. However, you don’t have the maximum options a free market provides. More than likely, you have one option that, to me, wouldn’t have been affordable if my company didn’t provide health insurance. Using me as an example, it was around $240 a month. With a family, it would range up to over $600 a month. That’s $600 more per month we, as a people, pay on top of our income taxes, our property taxes, our social security taxes, our state taxes, our sales taxes, etc. Not affordable to many people.
Now, before I move into how I believe we can remedy this, I would like to point out a small sampled of the good that Obamacare brings:
- People are no longer denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.
- Rates are not raised for pre-existing conditions.
- Healthcare is now, universally, available (if you can afford it).
How can we make healthcare: affordable, available, responsive, and the best in the world? Socialize it.
I know, I spoke the evil word: socialize. It’s like saying communism in the 1950’s, or terrorism in the 2000’s. It’s just a word people shy away from. But, is it? Our police force is socialized. Our education system is socialized. Why can’t our healthcare system work in the same way that these two system do?
Here’s my idea, in borrowing from both the police force and the education system:
- As a taxpayer, you are guaranteed healthcare. Hospital trips, doctor visits, contact lenses, prescriptions, the whole nine yards – as you are guaranteed public school education and protection and servitude from police.
- From my previous point, we now set up a system of publicly funded doctors that achieve a salary, similar to that of teachers and police officers.
- So, you don’t want to pay for public school and are affluent enough to have private security. Same goes with healthcare. If you prefer to choose your own doctor, you can pay for that privilege, on top of the taxes you already contribute.
Now we have two healthcare systems: public and private. Like we have public and private schools, and public and private protection services. Everyone has available healthcare, those who choose to and earn enough, can now go outside of their public taxable healthcare system and choose their own physicians and hospitals. A simple idea, that I believe could work to fix this complex problem.