It's time to do something or get off the pot

Monday, February 2, 2015

In the official Republican response to the President's State of the Union address, Senator Joni Ernst called for repeal and replacement of "Obamacare," officially known as the Affordable Care Act.

We don't know exactly what replacement she was referring to. There does not appear to be a specific Ernst Health Care Plan. Some Republicans have expressed ideas on health care, most notably Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who has proposed a comprehensive national health care plan, but generally, Republicans have focused their attention on destroying Obamacare rather promoting what, if anything, should replace the ACA.

While it is true that the ACA is a confusing and messy conglomeration of private enterprise, government programs and mandates for employers, most people did not like the situation that the ACA has attempted to correct.

That situation involves millions of people falling through the cracks of health insurance coverage because they do not have health insurance plans through their employers and don't qualify for either Medicaid or Medicare.

Health care has been generally unavailable to these people except in an emergency. The result is often a combination of bankruptcy for the individual and bad debt expense for clinics and hospitals.

Perhaps the only realistic way to deal with health care inequality is the way all other industrialized nations deal with it - through a one-payer system. Obama wanted to placate potential criticism from conservative business leaders, a complete failure as a strategy.

The focus of Obamacare's critics will likely be on repeal rather than replacement. Now is the start of the period when politicians compete more within their own party, rather than against the opposing party. It is unlikely that a Republican plan will emerge which Republicans will unite behind, or that a comprehensive ADA reform effort will emerge that Democrats will unite behind.

However, reaching compromise, rather than scoring points, should be the goal of anyone with compassion rather than selfishness.