Defuse or Detonate

What do do?

For decades, now, politicians and activists have been making careers of very public and demonstrative hand-wringing over health care in the United States. “Something has to be done,” we’ve heard ad nauseam.

Health insurance was once meant to be financial protection against the catastrophic losses associated with a life-threatening health care crisis. As time went on, it became a way to pay for health care in advance. The consumer began to expect to be able to purchase “health insurance” paid in full.

Medical providers and drug companies no longer had to be concerned about making their services affordable for the “common man” – because they could simply bill the insurance companies. The insurance companies had to charge more to keep up with the expense, and this price war became a vicious cycle. Most people could not afford private insurance, and the “common man” was all too often tied to an employer he no longer wanted to work for just to make sure his medical bills were paid.

Along came the “Affordable Care Act,” which sounded like a fantastic idea – and had an even catchier marketing name: Obamacare. It was fun to say, and and even more fun to think about. Our problems were solved! The evil insurance companies could no longer turn us down for pre-existing conditions, so if we didn’t want to pay for insurance, we could just wait until we got sick, and then sign up! Woo-hoo!

Then the insurance companies began to go out of business.

Oops.

Kind of hard to get your insurance company to pay your medical bills after their doors are shuttered…or they no longer offer that “affordable” insurance you’ve been hearing about. Also – even if you do still have active coverage…the first $3,000 or maybe $5,000 is on you. Surprise! How fun is it to say “Obamacare” now? Go ahead – try it!

Well, no worries, because we have a new administration with new ideas, we have a bunch of politicians in Congress who have been just itching to share their new, improved plan with us – but no one would listen.

OK – we’re listening now! Show us what you’ve got! (Hoping it’ll have a fun, easy to remember name!)

Crickets.

Oops.

Now what? We can’t go back to the way things were before Obamacare, because that was horrible. And most of the insurance companies are either out of the market, or have changed their business models irrevocably. We can’t move forward, because no one wants to gamble on losing what they already have for something that might turn out to be even worse.

It seems the powers that be have decided the thing to do is let it the entire system collapse to the point that everyone is once again desperate to just do “anything” to make the pain stop.

The sad thing is, no one seems to have a better idea.

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