Experts discuss future of Obamacare after latest ruling
By Caitlin Randle
Experts who oppose the Affordable Care Act spoke at a conference Tuesday to address its future – now that a Texas federal judge has ruled that Obamacare is unconstitutional . . .
Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, also spoke at the conference Tuesday.
Pipes has written hundreds of op-eds and several books about the Affordable Care Act, her latest being “The False Promise of Single-Payer Healthcare.”
“The bill [ACA] turned 9 years old this year…I can’t believe I’m still up here talking about it and fighting against it,” she said at the conference.
She also spoke about single-payer health care bills that have been proposed by progressive Democrats.
“A lot of people don’t know what single-payer means. Single-payer means there’s a single payer, it’s the government,” Pipes said. “People never talk about how much this system is going to cost and who’s going to pay for it.”
She said estimates for the projected cost are upward of $30 trillion.
“If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it’s free,” she said, quoting political satirist P.J. O’Rourke.
Pipes moved to the U.S. from Canada and said her move was fueled in part by frustration with Canada’s health care system.
She mentioned several faults of Canada’s system, including the average 19 weeks it takes to see a specialist and a law that patients can only discuss one issue with their doctors per appointment, requiring patients to make multiple appointments for multiple ailments.
Pipes also said about 200,000 Canadians who grow tired of waiting for care come to the U.S. every year to receive medical treatment.
“Canadians have an escape valve for their treatments,” she said, referring to Canadians seeking treatment in the U.S. “Where will we go if we switch to single-payer?”
Pipes said in 2005, her mother, who was still in Canada, called her and said she believed she had colon cancer.
After seeing her primary care doctor, her mother’s doctor “told her she couldn’t get a colonoscopy because she was a senior and there were too many people waiting on one,” Pipes said. Her mother hemorrhaged and died of colon cancer shortly after, she said.
In an interview, Pipes offered solutions for the U.S.’s health care system.
“Under Obamacare, there are 10 essential health benefits that add quite a bit of money to the cost of a premium, whether it’s breastfeeding training or maternity training, all of these things add significantly to the cost,” Pipes said. “Insurers can offer these plans, but it shouldn’t be mandated that insurers have to offer these things. If we got rid of all these mandates, the price would come down.”
She also mentioned expanding Health Savings Accounts, changing the tax code so that individuals purchasing from the marketplace won’t have to pay taxes on their health care and introducing a way to purchase plans across state lines, which she said would create more competition.