- - Monday, August 19, 2013

It is no surprise to anyone that Obamacare is a total train wreck that will so devastate America that we may never recover from the damage. Polls show that Americans didn’t want it before the law passed and still don’t want it today. But like parents force-feeding medicine to a child “for his own good,” President Obama and the left are convinced that we, the great unwashed masses, are not smart enough to make our own decisions.

Currently, some members of Congress are threatening to refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless Obamacare is defunded. As usual, we are hearing two major arguments, the first being that shutting down the federal government will destroy our nascent economic recovery. The second is this: How do you fix health care if you do defund Obamacare?

First things first: Shutting down the government is not a bad thing. Think of all the despair a few months ago over sequestration. People said that if sequestration cuts kicked in, the economy would fall off a cliff. Have we fallen over the edge yet? Nope.

Now on to the second issue of how we could improve health care if we are lucky enough to stop this abomination called Obamacare. Here are some suggestions.

1. Implement tort reform: Cut down on frivolous lawsuits and defensive medicine, and you reduce the cost of health care by 10 percent instantly. While we’re at it, let’s go back to the time when lawyers were not allowed to advertise on TV. We don’t need lawyers on TV talking lazy, unemployed bums into claiming brain damage from a phony medical error.

2. End state government-run health insurance monopolies: Allow insurance companies to sell across state lines. Allow anyone from any place to buy the best coverage for the money, regardless of the state. Instead of only having a few choices, you would have more than 1,300. Competition lowers cost — just look at your cellphone bill now compared with 10 years ago.

3. Reduce drug-addicted newborn babies: There is a drug-addicted baby born every hour in America, at a cost of $1 million per child. This needs to stop. Make having crack babies child abuse punishable by a minimum of five years in prison. When people know there is a tough consequence for their actions, many will change their ways. At least those who break the law won’t be making more drug-addicted babies for five years.

4. Create health saving accounts: Allow people to buy low-cost catastrophic health coverage, and then put money into a savings account for their everyday health care. Watch how prices drop when consumers start asking how much a certain treatment or procedure costs before getting it. Americans know how to shop, so let them.

5. Break the American Medical Association’s grip on health care rules: Allow other medical practitioners to serve patients. We have a major doctor shortage, and it’s only going to get worse when 30 million new users are dropped into Medicaid. Medicaid recipients can’t find a doctor now, so imagine what it’s going to be like.

We need nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants and other health care providers to have expanded abilities to treat people. There is no evidence to show that this would diminish the quality of health care, and people would get treatment much quicker at lower cost.

6. Congress and the president must use the exact same health care system and coverage they force on the rest of us. Watch how that changes things.

7. The average American obtains 12 prescriptions per year, an increase of 39 percent in just 10 years. Why? Advertising. Stop drug companies from advertising. TV commercials are convincing would-be hypochondriacs that they suffer from low T (low testosterone), ED (erectile dysfunction) and our favorite, TMDD (too many darn drugs).

Save the $12 billion per year spent on advertising drugs that we don’t need and just lower our drug costs.

8. Encourage real health care: Right now, we don’t have a health care system; we have a sick care system. Let’s get doctors better trained in nutrition and preventative medicine.

9. Make people responsible for their own health: Do you smoke, eat too much, or have uncontrolled, high blood pressure? Why should the rest of us pay for your bad habits? If you make poor choices, insurance companies should be able to raise your rates, not mine.

All these changes would slash the cost of health care by up to 30 percent to 40 percent. The president and Congress could work together and implement most of these changes in no time.

The effort being made by three brave members of Congress — Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul — to defund Obamacare may be our nation’s last hope. It is time that all of us made sure members of Congress know we’re watching them.

Chuck Woolery is the former host of TV shows such as “Wheel of Fortune,” “Love Connection” and “Greed,” and is currently a national radio commentator. Mark Young is an advertising executive, author and futurist.