Health care: System needs to be cured

You have to give former President Barack Obama credit for one thing: He and those in Congress who aided and abetted him did everything in their power to ensure Obamacare’s most glaring flaws could never be eliminated.

They did so by crafting perhaps the most massive income transfer in U.S. history. They established what millions of Americans now view as entitlements.

Cleaning up the mess has fallen on the shoulders of President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress. Now GOP lawmakers are so deeply divided over how to replace Obamacare that whether it will be done at all is a question. That is precisely what the health care takeover’s authors intended.

Few critics of Obamacare discuss the elephant in the room publicly. But repeal and replacement cannot be accomplished without tackling it.

There are two keys to the formula used in an attempt to make Obamacare permanent:

¯ First, millions of people receive substantial subsidies allowing them to purchase insurance. Often it is low-quality, with high deductibles and severe limits on coverage.

¯ Second, about 16.2 million more Americans are receiving health insurance totally free to them, through the expanded Medicaid program.

Of course, millions of other people are paying more out of their own pockets for insurance. Some have lost company-paid coverage entirely.

Overall, Obamacare has been bad for more people than it has helped.

But doing away with Medicaid expansion and those subsidies for millions is viewed by some in Congress as politically risky.

One way or another, that elephant in the room has to be confronted. Continuing to allow him to trample the millions harmed by Obamacare is unacceptable.