Saturday, May 26, 2012

After Supreme Court Dust Has Settled
The drafters and defenders of the health-care law have only themselves to blame for this mess.  With a filibuster-proof Senate and total domination of the House, they did not trouble to build a consensus necessary for transformative legislation of this scope.
Michael W. McConnell, former federal judge, professor of law and director of Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School, senior fellow, Hoover Institution, “The Liberal Legal Meltdown over ObamaCare,"Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2012
May 26, 2012 -   We are a nation of consensus and laws centered on and around the Constitution.  Ideally, our president and his party ought to be  Constitutional consensus seekers, but he and his party choose not to pursue that course in passing the health law in 2010. That’s why Obamacare is in deep trouble.   That’s why Supreme Court may strike down the health law on June 25. And that’s why the Court will draw a line in the sand on that date.
If the law is struck down,  what are the  alternatives?  How do we avoid chaos?  How do we cut soaring costs of care without punishing the sick and the needy?  How do we still cover more of the 15% uninsured Americans?  How do build consensus around alternatives without violating the Constitution?   How do we persuade the public change is necessary?
·       We can start by saying the current $16 trillion national debt is unsustainable, and that Medicare and Medicaid contribute the most to its soaring growth and its burdens on our children and grandchildren.

·       We can point  out that health care now costs $2.6 trillion, 18% of the GDP, and Medicare/Medicaid will go bankrupt by 2024 if nothing is done – even sooner if doctors are paid what they need to remain in practice.

·       We can cite the Congressional Budget Office report showing that  employers may drop 20 million employees from their current plans  if Obamacare kicks in as planned in 2014.
·       We can take steps to dramatically expand health savings accounts,  which now cover 11.6 million Americans, reduce premiums by 30% to 50%, and cover 30% of those previously uninsured in companies where they have been introduced.

·       We can give individuals the same tax-free benefits as corporations now enjoy when they insure employees.

·       We can give individuals control over their health plans and allow them to build a tax-free retirement plan by seeking less unnecessary and more costly health care.
·       We can extend Medicare entry age to Medicare to 67 or even 70 over the next 5 years, and means test its recipients  so the well-off pay more.

·       We can give Medicare and Medicaid recipient choices of private plans that fit their needs.

·       We can give the States block Medicaid grants to cover those who need assistance in a flexible fashion that fits the needs of the poor,  disabled, and needy in their individual States.

·       We can empower doctors to create new models of care in new organizations  that offer reduced costs and more convenient access, we can educate patients and give them incentives to seek the best care, and we can inject competition into health markets that allow shopping across state lines  and outside narrow jurisdictions.
·       Or, we can keep deluding ourselves into thinking that government can be all things to all people without people taking responsibility for their decisions and their health.

Yes, we can.
Tweet:   The Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality of Obamacare on June 25. We must begin to think of alternatives should it be struck down.

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