In an interview on the Sean Hannity Show last night Donald Trump again raged against Obamacare and the American health care system, as he has done many times in the past. He stated at the 5:00 mark in the above video that “We want to repeal and replace Obamacare, we’re going to repeal, Obamacare is a total disaster for this country, a total and complete disaster. We’re going to come up with plans, and there are lots of alternatives, we’re going to come up with plans that are far less expensive, better for the people and better for the country.” Trump has been espousing his hatred of Obamacare with similarly vague rhetoric for months. He finally released the outline of a healthcare plan. The question is, will it actually be less expensive?
On the Trump website one of the first things mentioned for health care reform is the repeal of the individual mandate: “Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.” The problem is that this would skew the patient pool towards older people and people with expensive and chronic diseases, without younger, healthier people in the pool to offset the cost.
The obvious answer to this from the insurance companies would be to deny insurance to those with preexisting conditions, as was common prior to the AHA. There is a dichotomy here. You cannot continue to require insurance companies to accept patients with preexisting conditions without requiring a group of healthier people to participate in that pool. Premiums would skyrocket for the remainder in the pool, while younger people roll the dice without expensive insurance. Should America be the type of country that refuses to give healthcare to those that need it most because it will be too expensive?
This would also increase the number of cases and emergency room visits that hospitals and paying patients would have to incur, raising costs across the board. When a person has insurance they are more likely to come to a physician early, rather than the emergency room when their illness has become, well, an emergency. According to Motley Fool, since Obamacare’s implementation 12.7 million Americans are newly enrolled in ACA insurance, and a further 14.5 million have enrolled in Medicare. Those are people that are now able to pay for their healthcare, instead of the rest of the paying population when many of these would become charity cases for the hospitals. You can be sure that the costs would be passed along to the consumer.
Would that be “better for people”? Would that be “better for the country”? The Affordable Healthcare Act has not been perfect, and the roll out has been clumsy, but the evidence is staring us in the face that you must have a good population of healthy people in the insurance pool, or prices will continue to spiral out of control.