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Obamacare dust upTell North Platte what you think

In the spectacular dust up over Obamacare, it seems that some critics are missing the big point -- that medical costs are too high.

Many people can hardly afford to see the doctor, or buy decent health insurance. Iím no fan of Obamacare, but no one could really be a fan of that situation either.

In theory under Obamacare, insurance companies will have to openly compete to offer policies that donít have preexisting conditions, that cover all maternity costs, that cover child dental and eyecare costs, with no lifetime limits, and with set limits on the amount that the insured have to pay out of their pockets each year. And, insurance companies will have to do all that for everyone.

No doubt, those requirements will pressure health insurance companies.

Companies arenít used to providing broad coverage for everyone. Companies have been able to exclude or drop coverage outright if it reduces their chance to profit (not a dirty word.)

So, it's no surprise that insurance companies want to raise rates and deductibles dramatically, or cancel coverage, moreso than they have been raising rates and deductibles every year anyway.

(Shoot, they just might also want to scare the dickens out of their customers and fan the firestorm of protest over Obamacare. They could certainly be inclined to do so, because the government keeps creating rules and then changes them, which hurts their bottom line. Just sayin, it must be maddening.)

But theoretically under Obamacare, when people see their rates from their health insurance company on a convenient open website, and are free to look elsewhere for coverage on internet sites (ya, this is theory here, since the debut of the federal exchange is a joke), insurance companies will have to find ways to lower their costs to compete with other companies.

The economic principle -- that competition lowers costs -- is a free market principle that is frequently cited by conservatives.

For insurance companies to compete, itís foreseeable they will pressure medical providers to lower all those costs that are exorbitant now, and maybe, just maybe, the cost of health care will slowly drop to a level that consumers find affordable.

That sort of cure for our ailing healthcare system would be painful, no doubt, but the bitter medicine might do the trick.

Well, it helps, anyway, to understand there is a legitimate purpose to Obamacare.

If it could be done without the individual mandate, I would support it. Of course, it can't. The mandate that we all must buy insurance is integral to this version of the cure, and the mandate is a violation of our individual liberty, no matter what five of the nine Supreme Court justices said.

So Congress needs to get back to the drawing board, create more competition and fix health care. Cut the rhetoric, the finger pointing and hurry it up.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 11/18/2013
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