I spent 16 years in the United States Congress fighting for patient choice/free market health care reform. No member of Congress pushed harder for health care reform than I did. I fought Obamacare with every ounce of my being.
Obamacare, and the so-called exchanges it requires in every state, will not give patients choice, will not force competition, will not hold down health care costs, or incentivize higher quality care, regardless of whether the exchanges are created by the state or the federal government. They will not solve the problem with health care in America. They will not put patients and their doctors in charge, which is the only way to restore the physician/patient relationship and repair the damage caused by our current employer-based, insurance- controlled health care system.
Neither Obamacare nor the proposed exchanges will force health insurers to compete with each other for our business. Every other business in America, including auto insurance companies, compete for our business. Every auto insurance company in America advertises around the clock that if you buy your insurance from them, they will provide you better service at a lower cost than their competitors.
When was the last time you saw a health insurance company run an ad with that message? Think about it. For all practical purposes, you and I can’t directly choose our health insurance provider because of the federal tax code. If we can’t choose our own plan, we can’t hold it accountable if it costs too much or if it mistreats us. And, under current federal law, we can’t even hold it responsible if it injures or kills us or a member of our family. No wonder health care costs are skyrocketing!
Neither Obamacare, nor the exchanges it requires, will fix the outrageous unfairness in current law, which allows those of us with employer-provided care to get health care tax-free, while those without employer-provided care, mostly the less fortunate in our society, have to pay significantly more because they have to use after- tax dollars to pay for their coverage. The way the law is written, the federal government (read Kathleen Sebelius) will control the exchanges regardless of who creates them. To believe otherwise is foolish.
Yes, I was approached by then-Senate President Steve Pierce to provide advice to the Arizona Senate on the implications of implementing Obamacare on the basis of my extensive work in Congress on health care reform as reported in “Senate considers hiring Shadegg as health care consultant” in the Oct. 19 issue of the Arizona Capitol Times.
But, I would not have tried to persuade conservatives to support an Obamacare exchange and Pierce knew I wouldn’t. The federal government created the current problems in our health care system and has foisted Obamacare on us as its solution. It should be held fully accountable for the unsustainable cost of this program and the damage it will do to health care and America’s future.
— Republican John Shadegg represented Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District from 1994-2010