Results tagged “American Health Care Act” from PlanetGreen.org

The Redundancy of Obamacare

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Senate bosses 2.jpgToday in Washington, the battle over the impending repeal and replacement of Obamacare will culminate when the House votes on the proposed American Health Care Act - but everywhere else, skyrocketing costs and lack of competition in the health care industry continue to impact us all, and the GOP's latest plan to supplant the Affordable Care Act (ACA) fails to adequately address these deleterious effects. However, closer scrutiny of the relevant statutes reveals that the ACA is not only inefficient but entirely unnecessary.

The individual mandate that formed an integral part of the law was promoted on the basis that it enabled consumers with pre-existing medical conditions to obtain coverage which had long been denied them. Indeed, it is hard to believe that citizens of a free nation could be compelled by their government to pay private entities in the absence of the ethical imperative to eliminate this type of discrimination. Yet, per 42 U.S.C. §12102(2), part of the well-known Americans with Disabilities Act, discrimination against anyone with impaired "operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions" was already prohibited as of 1990. Even though this statute was not always followed by health insurance companies, the protections enshrined in this provision do apply to the industry; see Chrysler Outboard Corp. v. Dept. of Independent Labor and Human Rel,  Sterling Transit v. Fair Employment Practice Comm'n. Furthermore, in Doe v. United Services Life Insurance Co., the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was held applicable to the life insurance market despite the defendant's insistence that underwriting policies for certain classes of consumers came with an elevated risk that justified higher premiums (see also Benitez v. North Coast Women's Health). This statute is clearly analogous to the ADA, and it is highly unlikely that the insurance industry's discriminatory practices prior to the implementation of Obamacare would have survived review under §12102(2)'s unambiguous terms.

Furthermore, the strangling regulations and geographically narrow markets established by the ACA artificially raise prices and render free competition between insurance companies all but impossible, canceling out any cost-distributing effect the individual mandate may have had. Under current conditions, only a limited number of insurance providers can directly compete within the constraints of the official exchanges, and one in five Americans has no choice between companies whatsoever. This problem can be mitigated in two ways, neither of which require the creation of even more supererogatory legislation. Firstly, removing the bureaucratic barriers that hinder competition in interstate commerce will automatically dismantle the local monopolies that have flourished under Obamacare. Secondly, replacing the government's haphazard and inconsistent antitrust enforcement policy with clear and rigorous standards would ensure that the free market stays free - a goal the proposed American Health Care Act does virtually nothing to work towards.

Clearly, the trust-busting Sherman Act and the ADA establish the necessary climate of competition and nondiscrimination to ensure equity and equality in a free market. The Affordable Care Act and its cousin the American Health Care Act are redundant and deeply flawed statutes which do little to remedy the situation and much to obfuscate the actual issues with technical and superfluous regulations. Perhaps a more effective legislative solution to consumers' current quagmire would read, in total:

" Voluntary, Free Market Insurance Coverage for All Americans
42 U.S.C. §300gg and 42 U.S.C. Chap. 157, styled "Affordable Health Care for All Americans" and comprising §18001-§18121, are hereby repealed. See 15 U.S.C. Chap. 1, styled "Monopolies and Combinations in Restraint of Trade," and comprising §1-§38, also 42 U.S.C. Chap. 126, styled "Equal Opportunity for Individuals with Disabilities," and comprising §12101-12213."


That's really all we need.

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