Judging by appointments to top posts in health care, the incoming Trump administration is on course to validate its campaign promise to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.
Despite the emphasis by many on preserving secondary parts of the law like maintaining children up to age 26 on the parent’s coverage, Americans should understand that the ACA indeed must be eliminated. Why? Because its misguided amalgam of regulations generated skyrocketing insurance premiums, reduced choice of doctors, funneled millions more poor people into substandard programs and accelerated consolidation throughout the health care industry– serious consequences directly harmful to patients.
The ACA’s biggest error was broadening a detrimental misapplication of health insurance that began decades ago. The point of insurance is to reduce risk of financial disaster. Instead, with its long list of mandates and regulations, the ACA furthered the inappropriate construct that insurance should subsidize all medical care and minimize out-of-pocket payments. The ACA’s coverage requirements directly caused more widespread adoption of bloated insurance.
When combined with invisible health care prices as well as doctor qualifications, most patients have virtually no incentive and lack sufficient information to consider value; similarly, providers don’t need to compete on price. The consequences are the overuse of health care and unrestrained costs.