Matt Kibbe interviewed for his Free the People podcast, Kara Jones Vice-President of The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (Freopp), a non-profit think tank focused on expanding economic opportunity to those who least have it. The one-hour podcast delves into how to help those at or under the poverty level who are not being well served under Obamacare. Jones suggests re-calibrating subsidies that do not favor the rich who have the means to purchase insurance. Jones gets into how government dictated COVID lockdowns have helped subsidize wealthier Americans, while the less advantaged have fewer choices for making income.
Jones states that the vast majority of the expanded medical coverage has been through Medicaid expansion and not via health insurance. Jones said during the interview, “I think a lot of the ideas behind Obamacare were good. It was trying to expand the individual market.” She continues, “The individual market has not taken off and in a lot of ways Obamacare has hindered the individual market by dictating what a [health insurance] plan should look like.” Obamacare rules dictate older people cannot pay over three times what younger people pay in premiums while also causing older people to pay for medical procedures they would never need like the cost of having a baby. One of many effects of Obamacare has been to price many Americans out of the market and into Medicaid, where they have few choices in a one-size-fits-all scheme.
Kibbe shared with Jones how his medical insurance premiums have risen over 50 percent. He shares that if he ends up in the hospital, he will have to pay considerably more out of pocket than he would have just 5 or 6 years ago. Kibbe states, “As far as cost control they have done nothing and we are mandating all of these benefits and we are creating a one-size-fits-all solution to something that is not a one-size-fits-all problem.”
The conversation turns to COVID-19 and how the government has dictated to hospitals and physicians what procedures they can and cannot perform for patients. This government dictate has caused severe financial strain on many hospitals across the country and has distorted the market while also failing in care for the patients. Some hospitals, especially in rural areas, have had to close because of these government demands. Jones said, “When they [government] halted elective procedures, it wasn’t just a surgery they could get five years from now…it was cancer screenings, mammograms.” She continued, “When you shut down the economy you don’t just shut down businesses and retail, actually a lot of the health care sector was shut down as well and we will not see the opportunity costs of that until several years later. The impact of those foregone screenings will have on those people’s health.”
Republicans have basically given up on repealing Obamacare, and the Democratic majority in Congress has no interest in revisiting the issue. So we need to find solutions that both parties can agree on and that actually have a chance of passing the legislative process. Jones and her organization are devoted to finding market-based fixes that will not alienate Democrats but will also not cave to their disastrous notions of a single payer system or Medicare for All.