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Saving Obamacare is a pretty easy task

IF you like your Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, you can keep it. Period.

Never mind that Obamacare is based on a false premise. There never were 45 million Americans without health insurance who wanted it. The figure included illegal aliens, and people who were without health insurance briefly in the previous 12 months.

Never mind that Obamacare is based on bad economics. Increasing demand for a product increases the price.

Never mind that Obamacare is based on bad politics. Opponents will never consider legitimate legislation that passed without one vote from the minority party.

Obamacare will survive if a new generation of Americans truly believes that paying for health insurance is a fundamental right and the duty of every American.

So far, demand among young people is not there for a product they don't need. Procrastination and the fact that the penalty is cheaper than paying for insurance are the culprits. The administration needs to make the pig more attractive.

Economics columnist Caroline Baum suggested they throw in a bag of pot for each person who signs up - in states where pot is legal.

Giving away cool T-shirts might help. Plenty of Cleveland Browns, Super Bowl champions, T-shirts are in cold storage. Very cold.

The main problem with Obamacare is that it gave the federal bureaucracy a new field to regulate, which amounted to a blank check for insurance companies, who are crying all the way to the bank on Obamacare.

Insurance company lobbyists found the feds easier to roll than the states, who have been regulating insurance companies for 70 or so years. Obamacare kicked that expertise and experience to the curb. The feds always know best.

Being new to the insurance game, the feds did not realize that each and every item that they add to coverage helps the insurance companies because the added expense is borne by the customers, with a little extra thrown in to cover the overhead and profits of the insurance companies.

Why do you think insurance companies push preventive medicine? It is a way to milk health payments from the well. No one with an inkling of economics knowledge would think for a moment that the weekly trip to the weight room is free. People pay for that indirectly - with interest.

What we are calling health insurance is really the middleman. As anyone who has paid directly can attest, doctors and hospitals find ways to drop their prices when you pay in cash.

And health prices - not costs - are the problem for your average American. Costs are the seller's problem. Price is the buyer's.

As insurance company profits are based on what the companies pay out, there is little incentive to haggle over prices. The hospitals keep raising their prices and the insurance companies keep passing along those raises on to customers.

Every health insurance agent in America should thank God for Sandra Fluke, who single-handedly made birth control coverage mandatory.

Instead of paying for birth control through a middle man, America needs actual health insurance, no frills coverage - say a $10,000 deductible - that is cheap and covers catastrophic illnesses.

Of course, that would reduce demand for health services, which would drop prices for doctors and hospitals - which would drop profits for the health insurance companies, who would be harder pressed to justify their high premiums to state insurance commissions.

This will not happen under Obamacare. President Obama thinks he punishes insurance companies by requiring them to cover more. Behind his back, they laugh and raise a toast to him - and prices.

Surber is an editorial writer.

His email is


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