Opinion: Ryancare’s a needed fix for Medicaid, other liberal healthcare ills

Passage of a new health care bill in the House means Congressional corridors are teeming with lobbyists fighting reform in order to protect the money they get under current law.

When talking about Medicaid, current federal expenditures are $389 billion. The Congressional Budget Office projects this to increase to $650 billion by 2027.

Medicaid has been a backdoor for getting the country on a single-payer government health care system. Since 1980, the percentage of Americans on Medicaid has exploded from 8.7 percent to 18.3 percent in 2013.

Obamacare expanded this system to include families up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, and bribed states to expand coverage, with the federal government picking up 100 percent of the bill for the first three years.

Because Medicaid is government health care, it is marked by waste and inefficiency, which drives up health care costs and drives down quality.

University of Michigan economist Mark Perry points out that, from 1998 to 2016, the consumer price index increased by 47.2 percent. In that same period, prices for medical services went up 100.5 percent, and 176.6 percent for hospital services.

Health care markets are distorted from top to bottom by government, regulations and bureaucrats. Nothing is more personal than health care; sadly, in no marketplace are individuals less in control of their own selves. Insurance companies and government decide what you can and can’t buy and what you pay in this totally regulated and bureaucratized business.

Perry notes that, from 1960 to 2016, the percentage of all health care expenditures paid by third parties — insurance companies or the government — went from 52.4 percent to 89.5 percent.

Perry also notes that prices for the 20 most popular cosmetic medical procedures — liposuction, Botox injections, etc. — went up just 32 percent from 1998 to 2016, less than the rate of inflation. Why? Individuals pay the bills, not a third party.

In 1972, Medicaid spending was 0.4 percent of GDP. Today it is five times higher at 2 percent of GDP. Without reform, this will continue, the poor will continue to get subpar government health care, and our national budget will continue to gush red ink.

The health care bill the House just passed courageously and thoughtfully takes on Medicaid.

The bill caps the money the federal government will send to the states and, starting 2020, gives states the option of taking these funds as a block grant to give them flexibility to design how to use these funds more efficiently and creatively.

We need new approaches to Medicaid like the Healthy Indiana Plan instituted by Vice President Mike Pence when he was Indiana’s governor. Enrollees pay a modest premium and their funds go into a health savings account that they can control and be responsible for.

Those on the left and those making money off the current program are not interested that we are going bankrupt.

With principles and courage, reform is possible. The House bill takes things in the right direction. We can save money and deliver better health care to everyone.