Suppose you had one tire on your auto that was bad. Would you feel compelled to trade in your car and get a new vehicle, because that one tire needed to be replaced?
I don't think so.
Nevertheless, because a few features of our pre-Obamacare health system were indeed issues, some thought that everything had to be scrapped and replaced. Obamacare is not a wise choice. Here is a suggestion for fixing some features of our previous system that would be vastly less expensive than Obamacare - yet would repair what needs to be corrected.
Early in 2010, as the climactic votes neared, a parade of the legislation's defenders—from the House, Senate and Obama administration—appeared across the media. All had the same message: pre-existing conditions. They named the names of families "victimized" by companies that had refused to sell them insurance, had canceled their coverage or had refused to pay their medical bills.
The message surely resonated, but how many people have actually been affected since the law passed? The Affordable Care Act established a federally funded risk pool—the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan—that allows individuals with such disqualifying conditions to buy a policy for the same premium a healthy person would pay. About 82,000 people have signed up as of July 31, according to
the Kaiser Family Foundation's statehealthfacts.org.
That is not a misprint. Out of a population of more than 300 million, some 82,000 have the problem that was cited as the principal reason for spending $1.8 trillion over the next 10 years and in the process turning the entire health-care system upside down.
The risk pool surely comes as welcome relief to those who need it. A lot of them are really sick and are running up expensive medical bills. But the three-year cost is about $5 billion, as budgeted in the Affordable Care Act—a tiny fraction of the law's overall burden. Nevertheless, the federal risk pool
will be closed down in 2014, when ObamaCare will begin prohibiting insurance companies from charging premiums based on the health conditions of applicants.