Let’s start with the obvious: the American system of healthcare is a disaster. Compared to every other modern democracy, America pays much more money for much less care that delivers much poorer public health and much shorter human lives.
Obamacare, itself a marvelous misnomer since President Barack Obama contributed so little to its conception, passage or execution, expanded
America’s medical coverage, but did not improve it.
Obamacare did bring some 20 million people into the system, which was good for them, since any medical care is better than no care. And it saved the country the human and economic losses untreated illnesses cause, like missed work or preventable deaths.
And through its improved standards of basic care, and mandated pooling of risks and costs the Affordable Care Act did make healthcare more accessible and more equitable.
But because it failed to take on the forces that dominate the system like the doctors, the drug and medical equipment manufacturers who are allowed to set their own prices, and the hospitals and insurers who get to pass along inflated costs, including largely self- and selfishly-defined executive salaries and assessments for marketing and “overhead,” Obamacare made a system that was already too expensive cost even more.
And in too many cases, Obamacare mandated insurance policies that hid so much of those costs behind high deductibles and co-payments when they had to be used, they became unaffordable.
No wonder so many voters want the system fixed.
But, according to every public poll I’ve seen, a large majority of voters know that’s a hard job, and so they made a simple request: don’t blow up the system we’ve got until you’ve come up with something better.
That request has been ignored. President Donald Trump has been undermining Obamacare in ways that will make the bad system worse, but so far, he hasn’t progressed an inch towards something better.
Remember Trump’s impossible-sounding promise, better care for less cost? It’s actually achievable, as virtually every First World nation can prove.
But so far, every idea broached by the President and Republicans in Congress would move us in the opposite direction, providing less care for fewer people at sharply higher costs. The best that can be said for this process is it seems unlikely to produce anything. The worst news is, Trump’s sabotage of the original ACA is creating a crisis in which something will have to be done, and neither he nor his majority in Congress knows what to do or how to do it.
Ali Velshi was born in Nairobi and raised in Toronto. He is the Chief Business Correspondent for NBC News and a news anchor for MSNBC. He was CNN’s Chief Business Correspondent, Anchor of CNN’s Your and a co-host of CNN International’s weekday business show World Business Today. In 2013, he anchored at Al Jazeera America until joining MSNBC last October. He is the author of 2 books, a winner of a National Headliner Award for Business & Consumer Reporting and a 3-time nominee for an Emmy Award.