In the ultimate case of the arsonists dressing up as firefighters, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander has invited two liberals to testify in September on “stabilizing” (i.e. bailing out) the insurance industry.
Who are the two liberals? Governors John Hickenlooper and … John Kasich! Thus, we will have a hearing on how to bail out the industry that 1) destroyed health care prior to Obamacare, and 2) exacerbated it by supporting Obamacare and blocking repeal.
Then two governors owned by the insurance and hospital cartel will testify on their behalf. THAT is what is called “bipartisanship” in Washington. And THIS is what is meant by GOP control of the Senate.
Here is the focus of the Sept. 7 hearing, according to CQ (subscription required):
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, told Colorado Matters in a Monday interview they are working on a joint health care plan focused on stabilization. Their plan could be ready as soon as next week and they hope it will win the support of other governors, Kasich said. […]
Both have called for Congress to allocate funding for the law’s cost-sharing reduction payments, which would alleviate uncertainty for insurers. Insurers have made it clear that they will increase their premium rates in the individual market if the administration does not continue making the CSR payments.
This is an utter disgrace. Nobody embodies the government-insurance industry complex more than John Kasich.
In Ohio, he placed personal connections in insurance and hospital lobbies above the interests of the consumer at every turn. He has vetoed every effort by the Republican-controlled legislature to rein in Obamacare, reduce spending, improve consumer choice, and prevent more taxpayer dollars from lining the pockets of the cartel.
The Ohio governor should be the poster child of what not to do with health care.
Kasich has blocked every effort from Ohio’s conservative legislators to bring forth bipartisan free-market solutions that break the government-sponsored monopoly of the big health administrator conglomerates and the insurers.
He even blocked a price transparency law, which passed unanimously in the state. The law would have solved the core problem of health care by ensuring that consumers can receive a good-faith cost estimate of their procedure before the service is rendered.
As state Rep. Jim Butler, the lead sponsor of the bill, said on my podcast a few weeks ago, John Kasich engaged in civil disobedience and refused to implement the law. That is how deeply embedded the Republican governor is in the monopoly of the cartel.
Folks: Nothing embodies the broken political class and crony capitalism more than what we are witnessing with the insurance bailout and the destruction of health care in America. The very people who got rich and powerful from rigging the market and cutting the consumer and doctor out of health care are now called in to fix it.
“Bipartisanship” means one thing — bailing out the bipartisan cartel instead of actually addressing the core problems with health care. Those problems were engendered by government collusion with the incumbent health care and health insurance cartels, and it is something that the voters of both parties want addressed. But the leadership of both parties will have none of it.
Imagine if Congress held a hearing on reexamining the entire approach of government cronyism in health care and how to address the root cause of health care inflation? Imagine if we addressed how government has empowered an insurance cartel in order to get between the patient and doctor, which has not only made direct care unaffordable but often denied care itself?
I spent 40+ min FIGHTING InsCo (2 clerks then 2 docs) to appeal 2 DENIALS of a knee MRI for a young athlete with a torn ACL. So frustrating pic.twitter.com/TUUMFBqETi
— Nicholas DiNubile MD (@drnickUSA) August 22, 2017
I challenge House conservatives to respond to this nonsense by holding a hearing with direct primary care physicians. These are the brilliant and brave entrepreneurs who have innovated by charging set prices that are much cheaper than traditional practices because they don’t take cartel insurance or government programs.
This frees them up from dealing with paperwork all day and allows them to spend more time with the patient. Some even make house calls. House conservatives should bring in people like Dr. Kevin Smith of the Oklahoma Surgery Center to tell their stories of delivering better care at lower costs.
Additionally, they should hold a hearing with heads of health-sharing ministries to investigate how they are able to offer de facto insurance for a fraction of the cost of the cartel. As we’ve noted before, the success of health-sharing ministries demonstrates that if the government only allowed new sharing associations to open up shop for all groups of people, we wouldn’t need traditional insurance or they’d be forced to compete.
At the September health committee hearing, there should also be a panel of physicians who have been hurt by the government’s favorable treatment of hospitals through higher Medicaid reimbursements.
Thanks to government using unconstitutional programs to tilt the playing field to hospitals, small practices are becoming obsolete and the power over medicine is now in the hands of a few mega-health administrator conglomerates. However, they didn’t obtain their advantage through competitive pricing and better care, but through government handouts.
Then they should have a panel of state legislatures (including state Rep. Jim Butler) who actually introduced a wealth of free-market reforms that are consumer-driven but were stymied by people like John Kasich. That is what a true governing majority would do … if they desired to distinguish themselves from the Democrats in any way.
It’s time for conservatives to launch a counter-offensive against the entire insurance cartel by demanding that government treat alternatives equally through the tax and regulatory code. It’s time to actually address health care for the first time in this…health care debate! It’s time to bring in actual firefighters to put out the fire set by those who are now managing the rescue mission.
The only way to lower the price of health care and medical insurance is by exposing the incumbent powers to market forces of competition or at the very least not granting them outrageous and unfair advantages. The governors Sen. Alexander plans to entertain at the hearing have served as a life-line for those bloodsuckers.
If HELP Chair Lamar Alexander’s idea of saving health care is to further empower those who killed it with the boot of government, maybe he should just go back to his war on Confederate monuments.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.