By Alan W. Cohen
Are you tired of the bickering in Washington, D.C., over health care? Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan promised real reform even though the House bill is worse than the disease. Yesterday, socialists Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren accused Republicans of causing the death of millions of Americans with their proposals to dump Obamacare. It’s the theater of the absurd.
Over here in Missouri, at the center of our nation, all we know is that our choices for health insurance are dwindling daily as premiums continue to skyrocket. President Donald Trump claims Obamacare is in a death spiral. Democrats and the media claim otherwise, calling out Republicans for forging a new health care bill behind the scenes when that is exactly what the Democrats did in creating it. It’s exasperating. There is truly a complete disconnect. There is Washington and there is reality. Never the two shall meet.
So, what is the solution? How about this: Simplify. We have 35 states that are completely red. We have 15 states that are either completely blue, or some shade of violet. Let them compete against each other. Let the blue states have their Obamacare. Grant a waiver to any state where the number of insurers is noncompetitive, say at least six. Block grant to those states Medicaid funds to cover those without insurance, and suggest strongly that they permit the sale of policies across state lines, and let the free market do its magic. Historically, states have been melting pots of ideas, permitting human creativity to find solutions that certainly no one in Washington. D.C., is capable. States might contract with hospitals to provide services to the poor for far less. States might adopt medical malpractice reforms such that it would entice the best of doctors. States might be competing to attract the best patient care, and thus attract the best businesses, create the best schools, and so on. Heck, states may do without insurance all together and permit providers to sell their services on the open market, just like most dentists have successfully done since they rejected Medicare fifty years ago. The possibilities are endless.
What about the blue states? It’s up to them. Today in the news, the State of Illinois, a blue state, is nearing bankruptcy. And, of course, there is California and New York, each teetering on the ends of socialist policies, raising taxes to such extremes that people are fleeing to Texas and California by the millions. Blue states can continue to commit financial suicide or they can choose. Illinois Republican governor Bruce Rauner has been fighting Democrats to save Illinois from filing bankruptcy since his election three years ago. And he’s losing. Margaret Thatcher said it best. Socialism works until they run out of other people’s money.
When you pit capitalism against socialism, capitalism will win out. Just as it always does.
Alan W. Cohen is a retired attorney, blogger and author. His new book, Private Vows: The Case for Ending State Regulation of Marriage and Divorce is available on Amazon.