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US Health Care Leglislation Betting Odds

Posted by BetOnline Team on 4/3/2017 11:40:26 PM

It’s easy to point fingers at Donald Trump and/or Congressional Republicans for not being able to come up with a viable replacement for the much maligned ‘Obamacare’ aka the Affordable Care Act.  After all, scuttling Obama’s not so impressive health care ‘legacy’ was one of Trump’s primary campaign promises and something that was expected to be dealt with easily with Republican control of the Senate.  It didn’t work out that way—the Republicans’ ‘American Health Care Act’ (AHCA) crashed and burned badly.

The result is that the various moving parts of Obamacare that looked certain to be dismantled just a few weeks ago are very likely to survive for the time being.  There’s little interest among Congressional Republicans for taking a second shot at putting together a replacement for Obama’s health care scheme.  They’ve decided that killing off the Affordable Care Act is politically impossible without a replacement and that doesn’t appear to be forthcoming.

Health care has been a center stage political issue for decades with little to nothing being accomplished.  Obama was able to get a badly flawed and potentially unworkable health care ‘reform’ plan signed into law but that was more a result of stubborn determination and not legitimate consensus over an inspired solution. 

WHY REFORMING HEALTH CARE IS POLITICALLY IMPOSSIBLE

The primary obstacle to health care reform is the system itself.  Any type of legislation needs to have the support of the well connected and powerful legacy health care system to be politically viable.  That means that any type of reform has to include ‘Big Pharma’, the status quo medical profession and the insurance industry.  Only after these interests get ‘juiced in’ can any effort at reform begin.  Of course, since it’s got to accept the more problematic elements of the medical/pharma/insurance monolith there’s no chance for real reform.

There’s really only two options for serious health care reform and the medical/pharma/insurance lobby has done a good job vilifying both along ideological lines.  To achieve any workable health care reform government has to be ‘all in’ or ‘all out’ and that’s just not going to happen as long as the political elite are carrying water for the status quo.  At the end of the day, political power on a micro and macro level is more important than improving the American health care system.

To make reform work, it would have to implement a ‘single payer’ system similar to many European countries or scrap most of the government’s bureaucratic and regulatory hierarchy to allow a legitimate free market system.  The left suggests that the problems with the current system are the result of a ‘free enterprise system’ but what we currently have is anything but.  The right decries ‘socialized medicine’ as they do their part to make sure nothing changes.

WHAT WORKS JUST WON’T HAPPEN HERE

In option one, government takes care of everything.  They negotiate with medical providers, drug companies and the other relevant players within the system to keep prices down and the quality of services high.  This is the basic arrangement in much of Europe and the occasional ‘horror story’ notwithstanding works reasonably well.  In terms of the United States, the problem is obvious—the pharmaceutics industry isn’t going to give up the massive profits caused by ridiculous prices in this country.  The insurance industry isn’t going to fold their hand and let the government take over.  Last but not least, the American Medical Association and the other medical industry ‘powers that be’ aren’t going to let that happen either.

In the second option, government gets out of the medical game entirely.  The FDA quits protecting incumbent drug companies by suppressing generics entering the market place,  and the entire regulatory bureaucracy stops throwing road blocks in front of innovation and competition.  Competition goes up and prices go down.  And that brings us back to where we started—like the previous scenario the powerful conglomerate of interests that makes money from the status quo medical system doesn’t want to have a legitimately competitive system.  They’d rather enjoy the current ‘crony capitalism’ which allows them to make massive profits thanks to the political stasis that keeps any significant change from happening in US health care.

So that’s where we are.  Until something changes Obamacare is still the law of the land and nothing will change until either or both parties aggregate the political will to make it happen.  Achieving that kind of consensus or even the bipartisan effort to seek one is ultimately the most difficult thing to fathom.  With this context in mind, we at BetOnline.ag offer you betting odds on the future of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare and the bigger picture of health care reform.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA)/OBAMACARE PROPOSITION BETTING ODDS

Will the ACA Preexisting Condition Provision be repealed by 12/31/17 at 11:59 PM Eastern?

Yes: +750
No: -1150

Will the ACA Individual Mandate be repealed by 12/31/17 at 11:59 PM Eastern?

Yes: +325
No: -400

Will the ACA Income Tax Subsidy be repealed by 12/31/17 at 11:59 PM Eastern?

Yes: +300
No: -350

Will the ACA Employer Mandate be repealed by 12/31/17 at 11:59 PM Eastern?

Yes: +325
No: -400

Will the ACA Medical Device Tax be repealed by 12/31/17 at 11:59 PM Eastern?

Yes: +275
No: -300

‘Affordable Care Act/Obamacare’ approval rating at RealClearPolitics on 4/15/17 at 11:59 PM Eastern?

Over 48.5%: -150
Under 48.5%: +130


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