Although I am pleased with the secure future of Obamacare, there are serious issues within the Act that need tweaking. Understand, efforts to introduce universal health care to the American people date back to Harry Truman. The first successful effort to provide health care to 100% of the senior population relates to Medicare in 1964. Medicare, as Obamacare, had to survive ultra-conservative attempts to defeat the effort. Medicare has saved countless lives, prevented disabilities, and protected senior health care for 5 decades.
The large elephant in the room that allows legitimate criticism of Obamacare are the administrative costs of providing health care. When you add such costs from insurers and providers it approaches 40%. Efforts by conservative Democrats and the total Republican block effectively rejected efforts to reduce administrative costs in the final product properly called the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Two defeated efforts were the "Public Option" and qualifying everyone over 55 years of age for Medicare. Had both efforts been successful private insurers would have to re-look at their administrative costs to remain competitive. It is possible many for-profits would have given up writing health policies.
Medicare administrative costs are under 5%. Medicare continues to be the most cost efficient model of health care in the United States. Cost problems and escalating problems that affect Medicare relate to fragmentation of health care in large part caused by some 1,500 private insurers writing policies. Market place economics simply does not work when it comes to health care.
The challenge Obamacare faces is to reduce administrative costs to acceptable levels. When combining both provider costs and insurer costs such administrative charges could easily remain under eight percent. When I had my office practice every insurer had his own form to fill out for reimbursement. There was often much back and forth before bills were paid. All of this adds to the cost of health care and reduces the amount of money going for direct care. Add to the complex paperwork, exorbitant salaries and profiteering; one can understand why health care is so expensive and continues in an inflationary upward spiral.
I remain convinced that a one-payer system will provide the only solution to bringing administrative costs down to acceptable levels. Breaking health care's inflationary cost cycle, and stabilzing or even reducing health care costs needs resolution. Universal coverage of Americans can only be affordable with such fiscal efficiency.
Democrats, Republicans, and health experts understand the need for drastic administrative cost cuts. The challenge is whether they will be willing to overcome the influences of health care industry lobbyists to do "the right thing" for the American people. Addressing Mental Health and Dental Care remain topics for future blogs.