President Trump was obligated to give the Republican Party the opportunity to ‘repeal and replace’ the ACA - Affordable Care Act. Since initial efforts were not successful, he should propose Congress vote on the following three basic amendments - no more no less - to the existing ACA:
- Encourage health insurance companies to offer a discount to their subscribers who see a Personal Care Physician (PCP) and/or a Psychologist in a given year. More annual screenings performed by PCP’s will better protect the general population from the spread of communicable diseases; in addition, other conditions will likely be detected sooner - and prevented before they become serious and more costly to treat. As for the visit to the Psychologist, think of that as a mental health tune-up. People who are mentally sound don’t commit mass shootings, or intentionally drive over crowds of people. Furthermore, an appointment with a Psychologist can offer help and direction with many of life’s challenges - such as dealing with addictions, spousal abuse, personality disorders, and more.
- Adopt Senator Rand Paul’s concept of allowing individuals to purchase policies through a co-op or buying group. Doing so helps spread the costs of healthcare over a greater universe of Americans, thus driving down premiums of the more-expensive-to-insure.
- Deregulate the marketplace to permit insurance companies to sell policies in all 50 states. Such competition will certainly reduce costs for everyone.
There are HUGE benefits of keeping the ACA and simply amending it. First, President Trump can seize the opportunity to ‘reach across the aisle’ and ‘extend that olive branch’ by maintaining President Obama’s signature legislative achievement; such non partisan action on his part can only encourage some Democrat support (thus approval) for these amendments.
Secondly, passing healthcare reform with votes from both major parties will almost ensure that it will last.
Thirdly, the remaining mandate in the ACA - the requirement for insurance companies to provide minimum essential coverage - actually helps control the federal budget deficit and the national debt. How? Since it spreads the cost of healthcare over a greater universe of Americans, it drives down the premiums of the more-expensive-to-insure; this means less government subsidies are necessary to make health insurance affordable to all! Win win!
Two additional healthcare-related issues merit mention.
1. The Opioid Crisis. The Support for Patients and Communities Act was recently signed into law and contains many features which should help combat this epidemic. We need to give this new legislation some time to work before any further refinement. In the meantime, the public would be well-served to encourage places of worship and community centers to develop programs for the already-addicted.
2. Medicare Drug Prices. Government should have the authority to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies.