Why Trump Shouldn’t Immediately Repeal Obamacare

By: Nelson Albino Jr. - Nov 17, 2016, 7:18 am
(PanAm Post) Obamacare
Trump promised to find a way to derogate Obamacare, so that the prices of health insurance premiums in the US decrease. (PanAm Post)

EspañolIt is well known that one of the main campaign promises of US President-elect Donald Trump is the repeal of the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Trump promised to find a way to derogate this law, so that the prices of health insurance premiums may decrease again. The problem is that when there is a law as reformative as Obamacare, pragmatism must prevail over idealism.

I am aware and agree that this law has caused a great deal of damage to the working middle class and to small business entrepreneurs. However, if certain provisions of this law are eliminated too fast, there will be negative consequences in the short term.

The reality is that though many insurers have asked that the law be repealed, others depend on it. The immediate derogation of the law could have a negative effect that would cause insurers to lose thousands of clients, and hospitals would be filled with patients without any health insurance coverage.

This would create an economic crisis, as the loss of money from these insurance companies would lead to layoffs, and a humanitarian crisis for uninsured citizens.

Trump said after his election victory that he is planning to keep two provisions of this law: the one that prevents companies from denying health insurance to their employees with pre-existing conditions, and the provision that allows young adults to keep their parents’ medical plans until the age of 26. Democrats have already started to say that it is impossible to replace it and keep those two provisions.

Except that it is possible to repeal Obamacare and keep those two provisions at the same time.

What has failed with Obamacare has been the provision of an individual mandate, through which the government forces citizens to pay health insurance in exchange for not paying a tax as a fine. This is what causes health insurance premiums prices to be so high.

Though Democrats claim it has been a success, that is not true. The administration of President Obama expected that more than 21 million people would accept the mandate this year. However, only 12 million did.

This means that nine million people did not comply with the mandate of the law, which undoubtedly means that it failed. And why did it fail? Because those nine million people cannot afford health insurance, given that its premium prices are excessively elevated thanks to the very same provision that forces citizens to pay for one.

The US Congressional Budget Office determined that 71 percent of the people who are not covered cannot afford a health insurance premium. Trump makes it clear he believes in universal coverage, because he thinks that everyone with pre-existing conditions must be covered. What changes in his philosophy, in contrast to President Obama’s, is how to get everyone covered.

According to Obama’s philosophy, forcing people to get insurance is the way to achieve universal coverage, whereas Trump believes that jobs can guarantee that coverage. A transformation in healthcare is possible if Obamacare is replaced with a system that allows citizens to decide what type of premium they want.

The problem of high health costs comes from laws and regulations that do not even have to do with insurance companies.

One of these regulations, for example, does not allow physicians educated and trained abroad to practice medicine in the US without complying with a series of requirements that take a lot of time and money. This long-term regulation has been key for the shortage of doctors in the US — by 2020, there will be 90,000 fewer physicians.

This shortage has contributed to an increase in the waiting time for a specialist as well as an increase in the price of treatments, since the demand continues to increase, but with less supply.

This regulation has put the US behind in medical advances, as many of doctors educated abroad come from countries with greater medical progress. This includes the FDA.

The FDA has also made healthcare more expensive, because any medical treatment or medication must be approved by them. The FDA operates according to lobbyists’ interests, and bureaucracy makes the approval process for an innovative treatment take years to pass, if approved at all.

There is no doubt that the challenge President-elect Trump will have to face goes far beyond Obamacare. And yes, I do think we have to repeal it, but everything must be done step by step.

If we really want health to be more accessible, we must look beyond insurance companies. The problem lies with the government, not with the private sector.

Nelson Albino Jr. Nelson Albino Jr.

Nelson Albino Jr is a translation specialist with PanAm Post, a Puerto Rican who is also a writer and blogger. Follow him on Twitter @nalbinojr.

Oscar Ivan Zuluaga Files Lawsuit Against Admiral Echandia

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Nov 16, 2016, 6:13 pm
Oscar Ivan Zuluaga

The presidential candidate of Alvaro Uribe's Centro Democratico Party, Óscar Iván Zuluaga, formally filed a lawsuit with the Colombian Prosecutor against Admiral Alvaro Echandía, who was the director of the National Directorate of Intelligence, for allegedly having been part of an infiltration in his campaign when he was seeking to become president in 2014. Zuluaga is demanding that Echandía be investigated for unlawful wiretapping, procedural fraud, bribing a witness, election interference, abuse of authority in public office, and conspiracy, arguing that the director of investigation at the Prosecutor's office, Dany Julián Quintana, stated before several media outlets that the general asked him not to link him in the statements he was about to make before the Supreme Court of Justice in the trial that is being brought against several Uribe associates for allegedly having used a hacker known as Andrés Sepulveda, to spy on the peace process. Read More:  Arrest of Colombian Former Spy Chief Piles Pressure on Uribe Read More:  Zuluaga Bests Incumbent Santos; Pair Head to Runoff In addition, Quintana allegedly also said that there was pressure put on him by General Padilla to not give complete information during his hearing in the Supreme Court of Justice held on Wednesday, November 9. Additionally, the same director of the CTI (Cuerpo Tecnico de Investigaciones), assured that Echandía invited him to his house to offer him the address of the Information and Financial Analysis Unit (UIAF) in exchange for his silence. According to the ex-candidate, the National Directorate of Intelligence infiltrated the office of Sepulveda to record a video with which to discredit him that subsequently resulted in Zuluaga's defeat in the second round of Colombia's 2014 presidential election. Zuluaga won the first round, and claims the video was responsible for his second round loss. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); Zuluaga says he expects the investigation to be carried out promptly, as the evidence comes from a senior official who was in charge of the Andrés Sepulveda hacking investigation. He added that his only desire is that the country know the truth about what happened in the election. In the next few days he is going to be called to testify in the Sepulveda case. Sepulveda was sentenced to ten years in prison for illegally obtaining information to create a smear campaign against the reelection of current president Juan Manuel Santos. Source: El Espectador

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