No, the Republican Congress won’t fix healthcare.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., speaks during a news conference as House Republicans push for unity in advancing the GOP’s “Obamacare” replacement bill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 6/2/17

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As House Republicans will tell you, the measure that they passed to (sorta) repeal and replace Obamacare is now in the hands of the Senate.

Republicans in the Senate wish it weren’t so. Healthcare is a high-risk, low gain proposition for Republicans just now.

That’s because there is exactly zero chance that this Congress, or any Congress that follows from now down to the last generation, will ever pass a law that provides Americans with “quality, affordable health care.”

It simply cannot be done.

That’s not to say that quality and affordability are out of reach. We see examples around us every day that prove otherwise.

Think about that quality, affordable flat screen TV upon which you watch the myriad offerings of Netflix. Or consider your quality, affordable smartphone upon which you might be either reading or listening to this piece.

If you can’t afford a brand new luxury car, at least appreciate the fact that a seven year-old Ford Taurus with 175,000 miles on it is a better car today than a brand new, fully tricked-out Lincoln Continental was in 1967.

The list could go on but for the limitations of space.

What all these things have in common is that they are, for the most part, obtained and consumed in the private sector economy in free and voluntary exchange. The free market works.

Just as it will for health care if we ever decide to let it.

All of us are naturally equipped with a ‘cost vs. benefit’ mechanism. That mechanism is put to use by very nearly every single one of us every single day. We make a value judgment prior to any expenditure of time or money.

Except when it comes to health care.

The fact that the overwhelming majority of checks that get written to health care providers are written by either an insurance company or the federal government has served to effectively shut down the internal cost/benefit calculator that we use everywhere else in our lives.

When it comes to health care, price is no object.

That’s why flat screen TVs started out in the market at $4,000 and now cost $300 while fixing a broken arm that used to cost the current equivalent of a hundred dollars can now cost $10,000.

And it’s why Lasik eye surgery (never covered by insurance or Medicare) costs a few hundred dollars an eye today vs. several thousand dollars an eye just a few years ago.

A 75-year old man that may be all-in on a knee replacement paid for by Medicare might say, “You know, I can live with this just fine as it is,” if the $50,000 that it costs came out of his retirement nest egg. Knee replacements would start coming down in price as a result.

All of this to say that the best we’re going to get from Congress is a plan that’s marginally less odious than Obamacare.

As to lowering costs and improving quality – our only hope is free market capitalism. Until we figure that out, costs will only keep rising.

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of Gleiser Communications, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The Team FM & KYZS in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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7 Responses

  1. YOU’RE RIGHT, Senate Republicans will slam-on-the-brakes.

    And they would’ve even before the Congressional Budget Office scored the House’s ready-fire-aim Bill 2.0.

    They’ve seen House GOP-ers catch hell at town meetings back home.

  2. Odious is the word for both Obamacare and the Republican “alternative.” Too many people want a free ride. They won’t get it, but in trying, they’ll wreck our economy–with plenty of help from both the Democrats AND the Republicans.

  3. John Lester says:

    You are on-target Paul. Washington has too many “suits” full of money. Congressional “ethics” is an absolute joke. Term limits would take care of much of this problem, but I seriously doubt that we will ever get it passed.

  4. Richard Anderson says:

    You are correct Mr. Gleiser! American free enterprise free market capitalism is the only solution to the “plague” of Obamcare.

    Attention to every Republican in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives….
    1. REPEAL Obamcare “in toto.” Obama and his fellow Democrats started it, Republicans can stop it. Just do it!
    2. Enact every innovative free market idea to drive out the exponentially artificially high prices within health care.
    and
    3. Get rid of the massive guarantees to health care providers and hospitals in the form of government subsidies which are totally skewing the prices being charged to consumers–in short, let providers compete for every dollar & every cent just like every one else in our economy on the same playing field. Assistance in the form of a safety net, when & if necessary, is for the individual American citizen in true need, NOT an entire industry which is all too happy to wastefully gobble up as many government tax payer dollars and subsidies as it can get.

  5. WHY is outspoken U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert ducking a town hall event?

  6. R. Eagleman says:

    I am sure that the Democrats would love for the Republicans to take possession of this failing program. It seems more and more obvious that the ACA was designed to fail, and then in the aftermath, Americans would be willing to accept any kind of a life preserver, even a single-payer system. Too many Republicans see this as political suicide, as their fingerprints will be all over it, and the Democrats will be exonerated from the political crime of the century. It may be callous to allow O’Care to proceed to its inevitable demise, but politically, that might be the best approach. When Americans fully experience what the Democrats have created in their attempt to control the population, they will convict them severely at the ballot box. When this happens,the Republicans must be prepared to offer a free market alternative, without all the subsidies; which as we all know, is not a free market principle at all.

  7. Linda E Montrose says:

    First off, Mr. Gohmert has become one of the Washington establishment and forgotten WHY he was elected in the first place…that is why he is ducking a townhall event. The only reason the republicans jumped on the repeal obamacare wagon in the first place was to get elected. Once elected, they got their foot in the door to stay elected to enrich themselves. Didn’t you know that is why 99.9% of our elected officials promise and promise things they KNOW will get them elected, but know they have no intentions of keeping??? We need to CLEAN HOUSE and KEEP doing it until they get the message that WE MEAN BUSINESS…put THE PEOPLE FIRST!!!!

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