More Changes Ahead on Health Care

For better or worse, the election of Donald Trump as President means more changes are coming to health care. All of the Obama administration happy-talk aside, the Affordable Care Act (‘Obamacare’) is not working well as costs continue to rise and access becomes more limited due to high deductible policies.

Mr. Trump’s nomination of Dr. Tom Price, a U.S. Representative from Georgia, as secretary of Health and Human Services is a clear indication that ACA will be dramatically revised, if not completely scrapped. Dr. Price has been Congress’ most vocal critic of the ACA.

But, nobody really knows what will happen, right? At this point everything is speculation.

One of the more thoughtful pieces I’ve read so far about all this was written by James C. Capretta and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, resident fellows at the American Enterprise Institute. Dr. Gottlieb spoke at the Chamber’s ‘Health Care in Your Future Summit, 2015.’

In a November 30 column in the Wall Street Journal titled “The Four Legs of a New Health-Care System” they offered four reform ideas:

  • Provide a path to catastrophic health insurance for all Americans. Obamacare mandates much coverage that is not needed or wanted by many. The writers propose an option for basic preventative and catastrophic coverage.
  • Accommodate people with pre-existing health conditions. This will be interesting to follow. While popular, it undercuts the basic concept of insurance so refundable tax credits and other ideas will be in play.
  • Allow broad access to health-savings accounts. The current high-deductible policies make it hard for people to save in HSAs so they offer ideas on how to make them a viable option for more people.
  • Deregulate the market for medical services. Let service providers be more responsive to people’s needs.

I don’t know whether these are all good or not, but it’s encouraging to see ideas beginning to surface that offer an alternative to the entrenched defenders and attackers yelling back and forth!

Anyway, strap in; this will be an interesting ride.