People never cease to amaze me. Recently one of the Jimmys of late-night TV (I was asleep then so I can't remember which one) did a "man on the street"segment where they asked individuals which they thought was better - Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act? Pretty much everyone chose the latter, stating how much better it seemed, was more affordable, a good choice for all.
How about you. Which do you think is better? (Stop reading for a minute to consider; now give me your answer.)
If you, like those asked on TV, also said the Affordable Care Act, listen for the big buzzer signaling you might not know what you're talking about. Friends, Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the same thing. Good thing its creators didn't use a better marketing team: Americans would have swallowed the ACA hook, line and sinker. Fortunately, Congress was not that smart, and we uncovered the truth for ourselves.
Frankly, I haven't understood why Obama or anyone else, including Hillary Clinton back in the day, thought they had to come up with a whole new health care plan in the first place.
I'm not saying people shouldn't have an opportunity to have affordable health insurance. Anyone who wants it should have an opportunity to buy it. Oh, wait, they do have an opportunity; they just can't afford it because it is not affordable. Even the lowest-cost insurance is only good for catastrophic illness; with sky-high deductibles, you still pay your regular medical costs from your pocket at the same time you're paying the insurance premiums. What a bargain. Not.
Now let's see who's still awake. Besides private insurance, does America already have a form of insurance that is widely used by about 48 million people? Ah, yes, we do.
And what's that insurance plan called? It's called Medicare / Medicaid.
Since 1965, Medicare / Medicaid has been our national social insurance program. They already have contracts in place negotiated with medical facilities, practitioners, pharmaceutical distributors, billing and claims. They work with private insurance companies to provide supplemental insurance that you pay for to cover potential gaps and for vision and dental care. Medicare / Medicaid offers several levels of care to choose from. You pay according to your choices, and the government subsidizes costs.
Since we already have a working social insurance program, why do we need Obamacare? In my opinion, we don't need it.
Instead of adding an entire wing to Washington, D.C., Medicare / Medicaid could just expand its services to all citizens for regular, affordable monthly fees. Utilizing what we already have through an established system could be a more efficient plan than Obamacare.
How would this new use of Medicare / Medicaid work? With all the basics already operational, it would open up to include all people regardless of age or disability. A financial tier payment system would be added for those not older than 65 or younger than 18. This would allow anyone to purchase Medicare / Medicaid at a cost based on the person's income. Instead of government forcing taxpayers to shoulder the burden for everyone, this system provides for everyone to pay according to their ability.
To me, this seems like a better way to go than the road to redundancy currently on the table.
Remember when Obama went around talking change, change, change? Obamacare was not what we hoped that meant.
If the likes of John Boehner and Tim Ryan want to make a change that is more efficient and makes actual sense, then they should jump on the Medicare / Medicaid bandwagon - together - and fast.
Jagunic is a Cortland resident. Email her at email@example.com.