Opinions On Fixing Obamacare And The Health System: It’s Time, And Walking Away Is Not An Option

Fixing Obamacare

Opinion writers and columnists offer advice about how lawmakers in Washington should proceed in their efforts to address concerns bout the 2010 health law and move forward to improve the nation’s health system.

The Columbus Dispatch: Now’s The Time To Fix Obamacare
It’s unsettling that President Donald Trump seemed to treat the failure of his plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act like a business venture that had soured. Oh, well, on to the next entrepreneurial adventure, which he said would be tax reform. OK, but who’s going to clean up the mess left by the Kill Obamacare fiasco? The law still has flaws that need to be fixed, and they can be without repealing the statute and starting over again. (3/31)

Los Angeles Times: Trump Faces A Healthcare Time Bomb Of The GOP’s Own Creation
Republicans often suggest that Obamacare is “collapsing” without ever acknowledging the role they’ve played in undermining the law and the state insurance exchanges it created. They have an opportunity now to do even more damage to those exchanges — and to their constituents — by reneging on Obamacare’s commitment to help low-income Americans afford care. Congressional Republicans set up this situation by trying to evade an obligation Congress created in the 2010 law (also known as the Affordable Care Act). The law makes low-income Americans who are not covered by an employer’s group plan eligible both for tax credits to lower their premiums and for subsidies to reduce their out-of-pocket costs. Without that assistance, poor families may not be able to afford to see a doctor even if they have insurance. (3/31)

The New England Journal Of Medicine: Trump’s Executive Order On Health Care — Can It Undermine The ACA If Congress Fails To Act?
Within hours after taking the oath of office, President Donald Trump executed his first official act: an executive order redeeming his campaign pledge to, on “day one,” begin repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).1 The New York Times characterized his action as itself “scaling back Obamacare,” and the Washington Post said the order “could effectively gut [the ACA’s] individual mandate” to obtain health insurance coverage. But consumer advocate Ron Pollack dismissed Trump’s action as “much ado about very little.” (Timothy Stoltzfus Jost and Simon Lazarus, 3/29)

The Washington Post: A Radical Idea For Health-Care Reform: Listen To The Doctors
Here’s a radical idea for reframing the health-care debate on the ruins of the GOP’s half-baked plan: Let’s listen to doctors rather than politicians. And let’s begin with a simple formula offered last week by the National Academy of Medicine: “Better health at lower cost.” Better and cheaper. It’s hard to argue with that prescription. Because the real health-care crisis in America is about delivery of care, more than the insurance schemes that pay the bills. Costs are continuing to rise, even as public health in America declines. We’re getting less for more. And the GOP’s proposal to starve Obamacare will make that downward spiral worse. (David Ignatius, 3/30)

The Washington Post: Trump Was Right About Health Care For Most Of His Life
The recent Republican debacle on health care could prove to be an opportunity. It highlighted, yet again, the complexity of the U.S. system, which continues to be by far the most expensive and inefficient in the advanced world. But President Trump could actually use the legislative collapse to fix health care if he went back to basics and to his core convictions on the topic, which are surprisingly intelligent and consistent. (Fareed Zakaria, 3/30)

RealClear Health: The GOP Should Regroup And Approach Democrats On Health Care
Shortly after the election in November, the incoming Trump administration and the Republican leadership in Congress decided on an approach that was risky, and proved to be fatally flawed. They wanted to move rapidly, before opposition could coalesce, to pass a repeal-only bill using budget reconciliation so that Republicans could muscle it through the Senate without needing any Democratic votes. After passing repeal, with a delay of two or three years for terminating key provisions of the ACA, the plan was then for Congress to take its time to bring forward a replacement plan, perhaps broken up into several different bills addressing different features of the health system. (James C. Capretta, 3/31)

Lincoln Journal-Star: Time To Work Together On Health Care
When Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a hastily crafted alternative was scuttled last week, two things became clear. First, after seven years of decrying “Obamacare” and more than 50 votes to amend or repeal the health care plan, the GOP had failed to craft a palatable replacement. The American Health Care Act instantly became a historically unpopular piece of legislation, with just 17 percent of the public favoring the plan in polls taken just before its consideration by the House. (3/31)

The Washington Post: The Path To Single-Payer Health Care
Repeal-and-replace (for Obamacare) is not quite dead. It has been declared so, but what that means is that, for now, the president has (apparently) washed his hands of it and the House Republicans appear unable to reconcile their differences. Neither condition needs to be permanent. There are ideological differences between the various GOP factions, but what’s overlooked is the role that procedure played in producing the deadlock. And procedure can easily be changed. (Charles Krauthammer, 3/30)

San Francisco Chronicle: We Need To Think About The Ethics Of Health Care For Everyone
I had the great fortune to chat with my daughter’s preschool class last week about what I do as a health care ethicist — not the easiest thing to explain to 5-year-olds. I decided to talk with them about fairness and then play a game about resource allocation that seemed apropos of discussions we are having in the United States about health care. (Ryan F. Holmes, 3/29)


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