While both sides of the healthcare debate are rolling out stories of victims to pull on the heartstrings, every American is going to be a loser if ObamaCare isn’t repealed and replaced. I have two children with cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disease that ravages the lungs and digestive system, will ultimately shorten my children’s lifespans, and cost a fortune to treat throughout their lives.
This debate has a very real impact on my family. We need good health insurance, just like other families or individuals with pre-existing conditions. But the false promises of ObamaCare have never been the answer.
Legislators and lobbyists in Washington, D.C., can argue for months over how to fix ObamaCare, the healthcare legislation forced through Congress in 2010 under President Obama’s tutelage. He promised the law would cover 23 million people; in actuality, it’s covered less than half of that.
In 2013, Politifact declared President Obama’s pithy ObamaCare pitch, “If you like your health plan, you can keep it,” as the Lie of the Year. Insurers are fleeing the exchanges and states all together. When they aren’t doing that, they are asking for insane rate increases, like the one and only insurer left in Delaware, who asked for a 33.6 percent rate increase for 2018. Residents of Delaware are getting off easy compared to people in Iowa, whose only ObamaCare insurer in the state asked for a rate hike of 43.5 percent. And, next year, it’s projected that 2.4 million Americans will only have one insurer to “choose” from, while 27,000 Americans will have zero options under ObamaCare.
ObamaCare is collapsing and Americans are worried sick about what’s next, especially families like mine, that rely on health insurance to pay for expensive treatment.
While politicians in Washington are arguing about the finer details of ObamaCare, it’s imploding all around the country. Soon, they will have nothing to argue over because ObamaCare won’t exist.
And part of me wonders if that was the plan all along. Step 1: Create an unsustainable quasi-private, quasi-government health coverage that will fail because ObamaCare did nothing to help reduce the costs of healthcare and prescription drugs. Step 2: When ObamaCare fails, con Americans into believing that European-style single payer healthcare is the savior.
And as a parent of two children with life-threatening diseases, this impending implosion of ObamaCare and the subsequent national pitch for single payer health care terrifies me the most. The state would then have the ability to say when they would cut off care to any American.
Look at who President Obama chose for a recess appointment as the head of Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2010, Dr. Donald Berwick. The esteemed doctor actually published papers effectively laying out how the state could ration care to those who were deemed to contribute less to society.
In the UK, baby Charlie Gard’s parents are being told that he will be removed from life support against their wishes and that they are not allowed to move their son out of the hospital to die at home or to take to another country for treatment, even those though they have raised all of the money to pay for it. The state is holding their son hostage.
While I share the concern that Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) Better Care Reconciliation Act would cut Medicaid, which 45 percent of CF patientsrely on for some type of coverage to help pay the tens of thousands of dollars each month just for prescription drugs, a single payer health care system is not the way to go.
As Americans, my children are very lucky. They live in a nation that, because of the free market, gives great incentives to drug companies to spend millions of dollars on research to find life-sustaining and life-prolonging treatments. For example, Boston-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals developed Kalydeco and Orkambi, two of the first drugs in the history of the world that correct a specific genetic defect. Those two medicines could add years of life for CF patients.
While the annual costs of these medicines are high, so was the cost of developing them. Are they making millions in profits? I hope so. They took the risk and spent years doing something others have previously failed to do, researching a drug that they knew would only treat about 30,000 Americans. So yes, I hope they are making a hefty load of cash as I pray they go back and keep researching until they find a cure.
Patients in other countries are still waiting for these drugs because their single-payer government health care system won’t pay the high costs.
Watching the wheels of Washington turn is agonizing for parents and patients of deadly and expensive diseases.
And the bottom line is this: Congress needs to uphold President Trump’s promise to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with something better, something that keeps health insurance companies in the game and encourages citizens to pay for private insurance, something that allows those who truly need it to have access to Medicaid benefits, something that helps lower the cost of healthcare with free market reforms, and something that keeps our health care system far, far away from Charlie Gard’s kidnappers in the UK.
Get to work, Congress. Either step up and do your jobs or get out of the way.
Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America.