Where I Stand:

Moral argument should lead health care debate

Sun, Mar 19, 2017 (2 a.m.)

“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

So said President Donald Trump three weeks ago when trying to explain why it was taking so long to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Well, we have had over a week now to read and digest the legislative equivalent of sausage making by Speaker Paul Ryan and his GOP caucus and, for sure, they have managed to make health care even more complicated than it already was.

Who could have believed that was even possible?

It is possible, I assume, that President Trump was the only person in this country who actually believed his campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare on Day One or thereabouts. But not likely. I am certain there were millions of American voters who believed candidate Trump when he said it would all happen just like that!

What we have learned so far is that nothing as big as Trumpcare — the Obamacare replacement — happens in the blink of an eye or with the snap of our fingers. Besides the very complicated nature of legislation that will consume a major part of our gross national product over the coming decades, writing the laws that take from millions of Americans their health care safety net that they have come to rely upon is not an easy task. In fact, it really is complicated!

What concerns me is that all those folks who jumped on the repeal-and-replace bandwagon didn’t have an inkling about what would be required to get the job done. Nor did they have a clue that when they said repeal and replace that they were actually talking about their own health care.

And yet here we are. We have a plan trying to work its way through the House of Representatives that with each passing day loses more and more support from Republican lawmakers — all of whom promised their constituents that they would get rid of the evil Obamacare. I am focused on GOP support because it appears that the Democrats — most of whom have always favored a fix-it approach to the Affordable Care Act ­— have decided that the Republicans are the ones to repeal and replace so they will be content to sit back and watch the show.

In the end, I believe that President Trump will find a way to manage his Trumpcare plan through the Congress. I don’t think he has a choice since he promised his voters to do that. Period.

In the end, it doesn’t matter to me how people get affordable, efficient and quality health care as long as they have it. The idea that in the wealthiest country in the world people would have to go broke just because they get sick borders on the immoral. So, change it, replace it, fix it or leave it alone. Just don’t hurt the very people who need the help the most.

I realize what I am about to say may not be a universal truth but it is an anecdotal certainty.

Prior to Obamacare I had the unfortunate need to take a loved one to the emergency room of various local hospitals. No one needs any aggravation when a loved one needs medical assistance so it goes without saying that having to wait for what could have been hours to see a doctor — because the emergency rooms were full of people seeking primary care because they had no insurance and no primary doctors — should not be an issue in a first world country.

Years later, in fact last weekend, I had the need to avail the services of another emergency room — this time on a Saturday night in Los Angeles — and the experience was significantly better. There was no wait time, there was no emergency room filled beyond capacity and there were no people waiting to see a doctor for colds and flu. There were only people with real emergencies.

What happened between 2009 and 2017 that emptied the emergency room of primary care medical problems? What allowed the people who would have normally clogged up the most expensive part of our healthcare provision system to go somewhere else for primary care? What allowed my emergency and others like it to be treated as the emergencies they were and allowed the doctors to focus on acute issues?

I may be wrong but it seems to me that the only thing that happened between 2009 and 2017 that would have had such an impact is — wait for it ­— Obamacare!

It really isn’t all that complicated.

And now President Trump is going to repeal and replace it. Oh joy.

Brian Greenspun is editor, publisher and owner of the Sun.

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