The words are those of the redoubtable Nancy Pelosi , and they form the title of an op-ed she penned for CNN’s website. I can appreciate that Pelosi is trying to be clever, riffing off Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. But what do those words even mean? That America was sick before she and her fellow congressional cronies cobbled together a 2,800-page legislative monstrosity that later became known as Obamacare?
If so, I for one don’t remember. And if Pelosi is implying that the nation became well once that measure was signed into law, it will come as news to the Mayo Clinic. Researchers there released a study last October that found that fewer than 3% of Americans meet the basic qualifications for a “healthy lifestyle.”
I mention this not just to ridicule Pelosi (even though she more than deserves to be ridiculed) for her silly grandstanding but to underscore that Americans need more than just affordable health insurance. They need better health care. In 2016, the World Health Organization compiled a list of developed countries ranked by life expectancy. The U.S. placed thirty-first! We are already pretty sick as nations go.
Tom Price, Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of Health and Human Services, is a physician, which is the right start. But when Congress gets around to replacing Obamacare, its members need to do more than just take a victory lap around Capitol Hill. What they need to do is ensure that the provisions of the new law are followed.
One way of achieving that goal is simplicity. The law needs to clarify for those Americans for whom buying health insurance was never a priority that emergency rooms will no longer offer non-emergent health services. That was supposed one of the hallmarks of Obamacare. Yet a report by the American College of Emergency Physicians found that reliance on the ER in place of a primary care physician increased dramatically under Obamacare.