First, let me say that I don’t think it will happen. Once the American public realizes that their favorite consumer protections will suddenly disappear without any certainty that they would ever be replaced, all of this talk about repeal Obamacare will be viewed what it really is—political rhetoric and frankly, junk politics. Plus, for at least the next two years, the GOP will not be able to override Obama's veto.
The GOP, and in the case of the Republican candidates running here in Louisiana, such as Congressman Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness, have never described to the public what would the healthcare environment be if their party were somehow successful in getting rid of the dreaded “Curse of Obama”—the Affordable Care Act, or, of course, the President’s and the Democrats version of healthcare reform.
Also, nor has Mary Landrieu, the Louisiana Democratic Party or any Democrat ( to my knowledge) ever really addressed this issue, either.
Why is this? Are any of them afraid to do so? Perhaps. Or maybe they just have not thought the issue out to its ultimate conclusion. In the world of US party politics, It is way to easy to condemn or to tote the party line than it is to think of real problems and solutions.
Let us not blame the politicians, only. The media has not asked the questions either.
Certainly, not during the debates i have seen or elsewhere.
That is, hopefully, until now.
Actually, the issue never really dawned on me either until relatively recently. True, I wrote about this question a few weeks ago and have discussed life-after-Obamacare often on Jeff Crouere’s radio show WGSO 990 AM and elsewhere. But so far, I have not heard anyone provide any answers or even attempt to find a solution even when i have urged them to do so.
Indeed the politicians such as Maness and Cassidy have advocated repeal and replace. So has Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and just about every other GOP politician I have ever read or heard.
Tea Party candidate Rob Maness, in prior debates, as well as a prior interview with me, has promoted a market-place plan which includes portability, pre-existing conditions coverage and other goodies, that is, after he would pull Obamacare out by its roots.
And, I am sure that Cassidy and the other candidates and GOP thinkers have some wonderful ideas that we should strongly consider as we go forward. Cassidy is a medical doctor, also a fine person and I value his opinions on this issue, I would simply like to know how he would deal with what I now consider to be legislative “clear and present danger”.
The danger? Ok, since you asked.
Once Obamacare were to be repealed, it would be dead. Lifeless. Gone into healthcare heaven or hell. As a result, pre-existing conditions, portability, insuring the youth on parents policies until they are 27 would likewise be the ghost of healthcare past.
Sure, Republicans and Democrats alike want these benefits to remain in place, but, they would not be--assuming the repeal were to go into effect.
What is certain, however, is many of the existing insurance policies will no longer follow the insureds as they do now. Instead, the repeal would put the law that was in place at the time the ACA was enacted.
Why is this important to know? Because generally, millions, who now have insurance coverage, whether the policies are expensive or cheap, will no longer have insurance. Period.
Repealing has serious consequences. So, before you go out and vote for a candidate because they are promising you that they will repeal Obamacare, ask them just some of some questions.
Here, I have a template form you can use...Mr. or Mrs. Candidate for US Senate, governor, US Congress, dogcatcher, whatever--I have some vital questions for you to answer before I push your button as my vote on election day?
Specifically, what will happen to my insurance policy that covers my family and me, the very day Obamacare is repealed? Will I have one? Will rules and laws be in place and if so, what are they? If my old insurance policy would still cover me, how much will it cost? What do I get for it?
If I recently obtained health insurance, whether through the exchange or via private provider over the past year, would that insurance policy still be in effect? If not, would that mean I will be uninsured?
My wife had cancer (diabetes, herniated disc, heart issues—fill in the blank) and since the new law went into effect, she now has received pre-existing conditions, will those benefits still exist the very day Obamacare is repealed? If not, when would they start up again? Will they? Don’t you know?
Will the insurance coverage that was in effect before the ACA--that covered my family, automatically be in force, retroactively? What if the insurance company says no? What if I am no longer employed with the same company that insured me? What if they want more money for premiums? What if they are not willing to provide benefits for the medical conditions I now suffer from since Obamacare became law?
Will I be able to keep my same doctor and my insurance policy if i want to do so?
After all, Ted Cruz and others have assured me that repealing Obamacare will agenda item number one as soon as Congress convenes. Are you promising the same now as you have done in the past? Can you honestly say you have an answer right now to these very questions? No? Well, what about in January?
What if all of those who now oppose Obamacare including many in the insurance industry, the medical community, the hospitals, the healthcare providers, the pharmaceutical companies, the lawmakers--and all involved-- do not come to an agreement when Congress votes on repeal, what happens to my family’s coverage? What if they don’t agree by the end of the year? By the end of the decade? Will I have insurance?
If you think I am just picking on the Republicans, the Tea Party, Cassidy, Maness, Vitter, Jindal, et.al. over this train wreck, I am not.
They were right to ask legitimate questions back when the legislation was being drafted and voted upon. They were right to ridicule Nancy Pelosi for her ridiculous statement regarding knowing what’s in the legislation once it is passed. They were right to get angry with some members of the Obama administration and others, (and perhaps even the President himself) if they had actual knowledge about whether families could keep their healthcare, only to find out, the insurance companies did not want to play the game.
But, they are totally wrong for not talking about the harsh realities their constituents will face once they “slaughter the Obamacare devil”.
Obamacare should and must be fixed. There are too many broken pieces to the puzzle. However, we now know what Americans want, now that they have had a taste of the extended-healthcare desserts. They want insurance coverage to cover them so they can quit work and not be in health-care limbo should they get fired or should the employer go out of business or should they want to quit.
They do not want to be told by arbitrary insurance companies that "the condition is not covered, buddy, you’re on your own".
They want to buy insurance policies across state borders.
They want their kids to have insurance for a reasonable period until those young-ones get their adult footing.
Obamacare, with all of its disasters, have helped Americans know what they have been missing.
The trick, now, is to find some middle ground and to take politics out of the discussion. Yet, we know the chance of removing politics from healthcare is not a reality. As a result, should Obamacare be repealed, we all will be walking in the healthcare desert chasing medical mirages. In short, millions of Americans will find themselves in thirsty for medical treatment but not a drop to drink. The GOP will have sold the country a bag of goods, the Tea Party types will claim victory, victory at last. But, the entire country would be in chaos not knowing who is insured, when, for what and for how much. So, if you think you can keep your insurance, brother, won't you be surprised.
The absurd reality of this entire "repeal Obamacare argument" is becoming ever-so apparent: Even if everyone in America were to demand pre-existing coverage, portability, and other benefits never previously existing and even if we passed these benefits into law after repealing Obamacare, the truth is, we would be codifying once again, the major provisions of Obamacare, itself.
It might have a different name, but, if it looks, smells and tastes like pre-existing conditions, portability and other consumer protection attributes, sorry, it is Obamacare, whether we like it or not. Call it Obamacare-lite or Obamacare-extra-lite, if you care. These benefits were hard fought and after decades the Obama administraton and the democrats were successful in making them a reality. Thus, the repeal really would be a "fixed Obamacare law" which is really what is needed.
So, before it is too late, let’s ask our politicians who are running against Obamacare to tell us--what is their exact plan, when will it be passed and what might happen during the interim until the insurance-medical industry achieves some type of equilibrium, assuming they could?
Oh, and don’t forget to ask just some of these questions above and listen carefully for the precise and honest answer.
If you get one, please do call me. Trust me. I’ll be waiting.