Three Little Wishes

Our last post touched on the progressive idea of ‘Medicare for All’ running through some of the Democratic presidential candidates.  Then last week, President Trump’s Department of Justice has formally asked an appeals court to toss the Affordable Care Act – lock, stock and barrel. 

There you go…about all you need to know about healthcare politics this far ahead of the election calendar. 

Right now, more real people care about the politics of ‘Game of Thrones,’ don’t they?  Who will rule in the end…Cersei Lannister or Daenerys Targaryen? Or does Jon Snow end up on the Iron Throne?

Side note…our politics would be more fun if the candidates skipped the ads and debates and instead just battled it out on flying dragons.  If you don’t get the reference, you are one of the 412 people in the country not up on GoT.  Good for you.  You have a life.

Speaking of real people, recently the Kaiser Family Foundation asked a bunch of them what their priorities were for healthcare policy.  Three pretty straightforward desires came to the top of their list.

First, the folks want the government to do something to lower and control drug costs.  Given what has happened over the past several years, it is no surprise this one is atop the list.   As they say in the south, ‘pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.’  Whatever happens, and it seems something will even before the election, the pharma industry brought it on themselves.

Right behind that issue was the runner-up – continue the insurance protection for people with pre-existing conditions.  I long ago got out of the prediction business, but this is such a popular idea that it is hard to see any acceptable policy proposal from either side getting far without some version of this provision.

Third, people want the surprise billing (out-of-network providers) issue fixed.  Yes, this is a complex issue; yes, many of the proposed solutions carry more unintended consequences than you can imagine, but this was a poll, and this is what the people want.  Someone else can figure out the how of it all.

Those are not easy, for sure, but that is the list. 

I get that politicians looking for donations and momentum and soundbites like big, bold ideas that get their faithful all worked into a lather.  But the bulk of the folks aren’t too excited about the ‘blow it all up’ or ‘take over everything’ ideas from either side.  Just these three wishes and they’re good.