Results tagged “obamacare replacement” from PlanetGreen.org

82 Days In, and the Swamp's as Deep as Ever

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Swamp.pngWhen Donald Trump was elected to the presidency last November, voters were willing to take a chance on a political outsider in the hopes that he might take a stand against endemic corruption and inefficiency of the federal government. However, after eighty-two days, very few of his campaign pledges have actually been honored:

1. The Repeal of Obamacare
After the American Health Care Act debacle, the White House has apparently reached a detente with the rampant oligopoly established by Obamacare. While this inaction may effectively prove a political point - that the current bureaucracy cannot be sustained and will inevitably collapse if left in place - it does nothing to remedy the current situation faced by millions of Americans whose premiums have skyrocketed and who are forced either to pay exorbitant rates to monopolistic insurance providers or go on public assistance. By deciding to do nothing while citizens continue to suffer the consequences, Trump has reneged on one of the most vital planks of his platform.

2. Withholding Funds from Sanctuary Cities
Every year, billions of taxpayer dollars go to fund the municipal governments of so-called "sanctuary cities," which purposefully ignore federal immigration rules in order to harbor illegal immigrants. These localities routinely refuse to punish any crimes committed by illegal entrants into the country, often releasing the perpetrators back into society without requiring any expiation for deeds ranging from drug possession to domestic violence. Trump consistently denounced sanctuary cities throughout the 2016 campaign, but has failed to stem the flow of U.S. dollars to support their defiance of U.S. laws.

3. Condemning China's Currency Manipulation
China's intentional devaluation of the yuan has resulted in sharp trade imbalances which are highly deleterious to U.S. manufacturers and workers, by making Chinese imports cost less in the United States than American exports cost in China. Just today, though, the President has announced that he will not be honoring his promise to officially designate China as a currency manipulator and exert international influence to curb their practices. This will effectively eliminate any chance that domestic industries could begin to compete with cheap foreign labor on the world stage.

4. Build that Wall
This was one of Donald Trump's most iconic commitments: to construct a wall along the Mexican border to deter illegal immigrants. However, the anticipated cost of this project has steadily risen since he took office, and it is becoming increasingly unlikely that it will actually be completed using American labor and at a price that remains lower than the benefits for U.S. citizens. Furthermore, the federal agencies tasked with working out the details of this undertaking have merely proposed a fence of the type already existing - without results - along much of our southern border.

5. Bring Jobs Back
Almost immediately after taking office, the President did officially reject the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, thereby eliminating an additional threat to the American workforce. But since then, Trump has done nearly nothing to repeal existing free trade agreements or counteract the influx of goods from China - even facilitating the latter practice with his decision not to take action against currency manipulation. The attempt to renegotiate NAFTA has also been repeatedly stalled, leaving American citizens wondering when or if their Chief Executive will decisively protect their livelihoods from rampant outsourcing.

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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