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Health care overhaul is too complicated for Congress

Editorial by Bobby Tingle

 

Since former President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010, it has been debated, defended and attacked by proponents and opponents.

Opponents have attacked the act for its overreach, increasing premiums and limited benefits.

Proponents of the act have championed its revolutionary mandates and requirements. They have also put forth its comprehensive reach, which has allowed millions of uninsured American citizens to acquire health care.

I honestly believe those who crafted, voted for, passed and signed the act into law have good intentions. But the legislation has a fatal flaw. Our health care system is so complicated, there are so many moving parts, there are so many events creating uncontrollable ripple effects that it would be impossible to consider them all much less perceive them all.

Nearly seven years later, we are in the midst of a changing of the guard and a resulting change of direction.

The Democrat party passed the Affordable Care Act, the Republican party is now debating its repeal and replacement options.

The Affordable Care Act will fail and so will the Republican replacement, if they pass one. The replacement will fail for the same reason the original act will fail, because neither is capable of managing the complexities.

Two of the more popular items mandated by the Affordable Care Act create repercussions for which there is no answer. The first is the mandate that insurance companies cannot deny coverage to individuals due to pre-existing conditions. The only reason anyone purchases insurance for any reason is risk. The risk of your house burning compels you to have house insurance, the risk of wrecking your car compels you to buy auto insurance and the risk of a catastrophic illness compels you to purchase health insurance. You cannot get insurance to cover the pre-existing damage to your house our auto.

The other popular item is the mandate to offer coverage to children on their parent’s policy until age 26.

The young and the healthy no longer face the catastrophic risk with these mandates in place. So rather than getting a policy and paying premiums they likely will never need in benefits, they opt out. If only the unhealthy have insurance then the premiums must increase.

But these mandates are very popular and no politician in his right mind will take them away. But they are fatal flaws and will likely impact health care even in Orange County.

Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at bobby.tingle@orangeleader.com.