In Henry Olsen’s June 23 op-ed, “How Reagan would fix Obamacare,” there is a further supporting argument for such government intervention:
Conservatives were in sync with Frederick Hayek, a 1974 Nobel Prize-winning economist, who supported departing from free-market principles in certain circumstances, especially to help the poor, the sick and victims of natural disasters.
In “The Road to Serfdom,” Hayek stated: “The case for the state’s helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong. There are many points of detail where those wishing to preserve the competitive system and those wishing to supersede it by something different will disagree on the details . . . there is no incompatibility in principle between the state’s providing greater security in this way and the preservation of individual freedom.”
Some contempory conservatives quote Hayek to support their free-market principles but fail to recognize the exceptions he made for social insurance.
Lawrence “Larry” Schwartz, Fairfax
With the release of the Senate version of the American Health Care Act, I hope we can all assess its merits and risks irrespective of party affiliation. The individual mandate in Obamacare rubbed many people the wrong way but was necessary to pay for the plan. If the new plan leads to 22 million more people becoming uninsured and makes it difficult for states to continue to fund Medicaid (and tax breaks for the uber-wealthy), we need to consider that as well.
The complicated health-care system in this country had been broken for a long time before Obamacare, and it needs a solution. We shouldn’t rush it.
Roger McCreery, Bethesda
The June 23 front-page article “Senate GOP’s health plan debuts amid doubts” provided highlights of the Republicans’ plan and discussion of the political issues surrounding the way forward.
The release of 142 pages of complex legislative text furthers the perception that leadership does not want the public to understand the intent and the implications before rushing a vote. I have read and understand the text, but only because I once did so as my day job. I was a principal architect of former president Richard Nixon’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan and a legislative staffer for the Medicare provisions of the Affordable Care Act. I do not think much of the specifics of the current proposed plan.
As an alternative, I offer a simple, two-part proposal that is easy to understand and debate: repeal the problematic individual market exchanges and replace them with equivalent federal funding to states to expand Medicaid to allow lower-income people now receiving subsidies to buy in, and to authorize and provide funding to the Health and Human Services Department to allow other non-covered individuals to buy in to Medicare with age-related subsidies. These programs are working very well for millions and could be easily and effectively expanded.
Health-care coverage is simply too essential to not receive the most thorough and informed debate.
Ronald M. Klar, Arlington
The nearly full-page June 23 graphic “What the Senate bill changes about Obamacare” was incomplete and therefore misleading about the key provisions of the Senate’s Trumpcare bill. The graphic covered everything but the essence of this bill: a huge tax cut for the wealthy. Wouldn’t the tax cut have fit in the “Other key elements of the plan” section?
The June 23 article “Limited coverage, subsidies for some in proposed health-care overhaul” included no example of the main beneficiaries of the bill — the ones getting a trillion-dollar tax cut over the next decade. Was there no room for “86-year old man with $80 billion in assets living in Omaha” in the list of who benefits and who loses under Trumpcare?
Abetting the Republican pretense that this bill is about health care is not objective journalism; it is hiding half the truth in darkness.
Kevin DeGroat, Manassas Park
Regarding the graphic on the Senate bill changes to Obamacare:
I am troubled by the fact that Senate Republicans have been working on their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act behind closed doors.
The ACA helped small business owners like me offer better, less expensive health-care coverage to their employees. Before the ACA, my business saw annual double-digit premium increases, and, as a result, we had to ask our employees to cover more of the cost. But once the law’s provisions went into effect our rates began improving substantially. Now we have more options when it comes to insurance carriers and health plans, but that will all change if the replacement plan becomes law.
The Senate must do what the House didn’t: prioritize what’s best for the country over party loyalty and drop their reckless efforts to repeal the ACA.
Mike Brey, Laurel
The writer is a member of the
Small Business Majority’s Small Business Council.