By Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Congress will, as its first course of action, vote to repeal Obamacare. It cannot happen soon enough.
All around us, Obamacare crumbles in chaos. Premiums are exploding. The state run health co-ops are mostly bankrupt. Many individuals who gained subsidized insurance are still, for all practical purposes, without insurance because the deductibles are beyond the reach of low income workers.
As we repeal Obamacare, we would be wise to vote on its replacement at the same time.
What should we replace Obamacare with? Perhaps we should try freedom:
1. The freedom to choose inexpensive insurance free of government dictates.
2. The freedom to save unlimited amounts in a health savings account.
3. The freedom to buy insurance across state lines.
4. The freedom for all individuals to join together in voluntary associations to gain the leverage of being part of a large insurance pool.
If Congress fails to vote on a replacement at the same time as repeal, the repealers risk assuming the blame for the continued unraveling of Obamacare. For mark my words, Obamacare will continue to unravel and wreak havoc for years to come.
The stick of Obamacare was forcing people to buy insurance or pay a penalty. The carrot of Obamacare was allowing people with pre-existing conditions to buy insurance after they were diagnosed. Even with the mandate, many healthy young people refused to buy insurance and the pools of insured Americans under Obamacare are overly burdened by sick individuals and insurance companies are suffering losses.
Removing the mandate to buy insurance while leaving in place the dictate that people can wait to buy insurance until after they are ill will only accentuate the bankrupting of the insurance industry.
My fear is that if you leave part of Obamacare in place (the dictate that insurance companies must sell insurance to individuals with pre-existing conditions) then you will see an acceleration of adverse selection and ultimately mass bankruptcy of the healthcare insurance industry.
Don’t misunderstand me. We should repeal Obamacare, but partial repeal will only accelerate the current chaos and may eventually lead to calls for a taxpayer bailout of insurance companies.
Obamacare required the brute force of government through the individual mandate to make people buy insurance. If you repeal this mandate but leave in place dictates as to whom may purchase insurance, you create a business model doomed to fail.
Principled opponents of Obamacare rejected it because we reject the use of state force to mandate that we buy a commercial good from a private seller. Pragmatic opponents want to keep the feel good aspects of Obamacare while cleaving the individual mandate that forces people to buy insurance.
Partial repeal of Obamacare will likely win the day, but when the insurance companies come to Washington crying for a bailout don’t say that no one warned of this preventable disaster.
Rand Paul is the junior senator from Kentucky.