Health insurance before Obamacare

Does anyone remember what health insurance was like before Obamacare? I do and so does George Will, renowned syndicated columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author.

On the Feb. 21, 2010, edition of ABC’s This Week, conservative columnist George Will — a critic of the plan backed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats — cited poll figures about Americans’ satisfaction with their own health coverage.

“When we started this healthcare debate a year ago, 85 percent of the American people had health insurance, and 95 percent of the 85 percent were happy with it,” Will said during the show’s roundtable discussion. “So there was no underlying discontent that you now postulate to drive this radical change.”

Eight surveys taken in 2008 and 2009 that asked Americans whether they were satisfied with their health coverage confirmed this data. The Census Bureau stated that in 2008 255.1 million Americans had health insurance and 46.3 million did not.

The sources of this insurance were generally employer provided plans, individual plans, Medicare, VA healthcare, Medicaid, the CHIP program, Cobra for short-term coverage and colleges and universities that offered some healthcare insurance for students.

Approximately half of the 46.3 million uninsured consisted of young healthy people who did not see the need to buy health insurance (which is still true today) and the other half were made up of people from the lower economic levels that could not afford insurance but who were likely eligible for Medicaid but did not apply.

So, what happened, why the crisis? Why create a new health insurance system when the current one was not broken? The answer is President Obama.

The public record is full of articles and video clips dating back to his days in Chicago when he was a community organizer and as a state legislator that he envisioned a single payer healthcare system.

He recognized that the country would not approve of a single payer system replacing the market-based system, so upon being elected President, he conjured up the strawman: “Our healthcare system is broken.”

With the support of the liberal media, he set out across the country denouncing health insurance and promising a new system, the Affordable Health Care Act, which would guarantee coverage for everyone, which included keeping your doctor, your hospital, lowering premiums, guaranteeing coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents plans up to age 26.

As you know, much of that was untrue. The system we have now is in the process of complete collapse thanks to the mandated essential services in Obamacare.

If we are ever going to correct this atrocity on the American public we must first begin by demanding Congress repeal Obamacare in total, no tweaking, no attempt to fix a little bit or modify it.

It must be replaced with a market-based system similar to what we had before. It is not impossible. First, we must get the government out of our healthcare insurance system. Health insurance should be like your retirement plan, you own it and it goes with you when you change jobs. We must be able to buy health insurance across state lines like car insurance (the state insurance commissioners won’t like that), we need to expand health savings accounts and allow those who purchase their private health insurance to deduct the cost on their income tax returns just as employers do for their employee plans.

We must have tort reform to eliminate frivolous lawsuits that drive up the cost of malpractice insurance for doctors and hospitals and we must establish a federal cap on medical malpractice claims while not limiting damages for necessary medical treatment.

The only way to eliminate this burden on the American people is for you to demand action from your congressional representative in the House and Senate.

Roger F. Casale
LTC, U.S. Army (Retired)
Peachtree City, Ga.