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Mark Caserta: GOP should return to health care message

Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:25 AM

As the shortcomings of Obamacare emerge, now is the time for the GOP to get back on message regarding its plan to provide accessible, affordable healthcare to all Americans.

Folks, if Obamacare is such a great proposition for America, why the need to force individuals to purchase it or be penalized financially? It's very simple. Without everyone's participation, it wouldn't be financially viable. Government-run healthcare epitomizes the socialist ideology of Barack Obama. The president is simply executing his "inadvertently" expressed intention when he told Joe the Plumber, "...when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

Unfortunately, that's socialism.

The push for increased government involvement in healthcare dates back over 100 years, when presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt, campaigning on the Progressive Party ticket, called for the establishment of a national health insurance system modeled on what had already been established in Germany.

But in America we deserve and demand a choice.

Indeed, rising healthcare costs have had a catastrophic impact on Americans and our economy. But the choices legislators have made in regulating the industry have not helped in providing affordable healthcare. And political "jousting" has depreciated the narrative far below the interests of most Americans.

It should be objectionable to all Americans that the first path Democrats chose to reform healthcare was to provide the government power to "mandate" its purchase without first pursuing other options to improve its accessibility and affordability.

The U.S. Census Department says about 15 percent of Americans needed health insurance prior to Obamacare. Logic suggests first attempting to make insurance more affordable for those Americans before revamping the entire healthcare system!

Early on, the GOP offered some viable solutions which would help make quality healthcare affordable and accessible for everyone including those with pre-existing conditions.

It begins with allowing Americans who like their healthcare coverage to keep it while giving all Americans the freedom to choose the health plan that best meets their needs and ensuring all medical decisions are made by patients and their doctors -- not government bureaucrats.

Eliminating the barriers of purchasing health insurance across state lines would create healthy market competition. Individuals and families who reside in one state would be able to purchase affordable health insurance from another. Likewise, health insurance plans would be able to sell their policies in all states, just as other companies do in selling a wide variety of goods and services.

Comprehensive medical liability reform is needed to reduce the costly, unnecessary defensive medicine practiced by doctors trying to protect themselves from overzealous trial lawyers.

The tax code should be adjusted to fairly extend tax credits to those who do not have employer-provided insurance but purchase health insurance on their own. The deduction would be equivalent to the cost of an individual's or family's insurance premiums.

These are but a few of the options the GOP once clearly articulated.

It's time now for Republicans to return to focusing on real healthcare solutions and allow Obamacare to be exposed.

By 2016, many more Americans will be listening intently to your message.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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