To Make Health Care Affordable, Stop Focusing on Insurance

By Joe DeSantis

Imagine a patient with a persistent cough. Her doctor diagnoses her with bronchitis and prescribes an antibiotic. When the cough gets worse, he diagnoses her with pneumonia and prescribes an anti-viral. When that doesn’t work, he diagnoses her with asthma, then sarcoidosis, then fibrosis. But no treatment works. Her cough keeps getting worse.

The treatments aren’t working because the problem isn’t in her lungs. She has acid reflux, which is inflaming her esophagus and causing her to cough.

America is this patient. Our persistent, worsening symptom is the rising cost of health care and insurance coverage, and Washington is our doctor. From the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 to the Affordable Care Act in 2010, Washington’s approach to solving this challenge has been finding ways to enroll more Americans in health insurance, be it public or private.


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