Beaufort Today -

Health care tinkering leads to more suffering

Please don’t feed the donkeys and elephants. It just increases their output.

This bumper-sticker slogan, a wink at libertarianism, couldn’t be more appropriate for the times. When the Affordable Care Act morphs into the American Health Care Act, what will it look like? Wait — the Senate has renamed it the Better Care Reconciliation Act, so it’s still morphing.

With the ACA in death throes, Democrats are content to stand back and watch as Republicans try to their hand with shock paddles. “Clear!” they yell. But then there’s hesitation, no shock is delivered and the patient is still comatose.

Some say to just let the patient go. Others think there’s still life left and the patient must be saved. Donkeys and elephants are having a paintball fight in the operating room.

Porcupines (libertarians) shake their heads in dismay. “I told you so” is their rebuke to Democrats for having created the entitlement monster in the first place. Never was there enough wealth in all the country to substantially underwrite health care for everyone, forever.

Not everyone, you say? OK, but nearly 120 million Americans are on government health insurance, according to the Census Bureau. Thanks to the expansion promoted by the ACA, 75 million are now enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid.

Democratic leadership will tell you it’s a great thing and something they’re proud of. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Republicans trying to undermine health care for millions of Americans “dishonor God.”

The patient gurgles on the table.

Republicans earn a “tsk, tsk, tsk” from libertarians for trying to extend Obamacare’s life. After eight years of railing against the law, how can they now patch it up and put their name on it?

“Clear!” Zap! The ACA becomes the AHCA. Out with the old, in with the new, same as the old.

Neither party wins this paintball fight, nor do the American people. Nor does our health care system. Remember, this legislation isn’t about health care. It’s about the unprecedented federal government takeover of the entire health care insurance industry.

It’s not good for insurance companies, so it’s certainly not good for insurance premiums. Obamacare has spawned less competition, exactly the opposite of what it takes to drive down prices.

Red tape and moving regulations on coverages and reimbursements have spooked health care providers, many of which are now exiting in frustration.

A different wave of frustration has overwhelmed private businesses, forcing them to adjust hiring and employment practices to meet shifting federal regulations, exactly the opposite of what it takes to encourage job growth.

Obamacare is the greatest power grab by our government of all time, with Medicaid expansion the Trojan horse that will bring single-payer, government-driven control of the entire health care market.

It appears this Democratic entitlement program will soon be renamed a Republican entitlement program. Donkeys and elephants are trying to keep their jobs using fictitious empathy, but their tinkering has only caused our health care system more needless suffering.

Columnist Michael Raymond can be reached at mikejraymond@yahoo.com.

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