Amid a dysfunctional healthcare program, conservative members of the House and Senate are attempting to move toward reform. They promised “Repeal-and-Replace,” but they shouldn’t have tried to sell the public on repeal, because the old system — consisting of private enterprise providing a product based on need and demand in exchange for a fair market price — is over. A lot of people, including me, were mostly happy with their healthcare prior to the Affordable Care Act. Today, that fact is immaterial: That market, prior to Obamacare, is nonexistent, and no one can turn back time and magically put everything back in place. Talk of such is ridiculous.

Like most of us living in the real world, the lawmakers must take the components they have to work with and build the best structure they can. Regrettably, everyone one must accept that the peripheral structure is inferior. That’s not to say that, over time, the appropriate building blocks cannot be added. The free market is very reliable and adjusts to the needs of customers.

Obamacare became a gradual law in 2010, meaning different segments became effective over the course of about five years. Therefore, it is hard to accurately measure its overall performance. Due to high premiums, high deductibles, and lackluster participation, many educated speculators believe the plan did not achieve a positive impact on longevity.

Even though Obamacare is essentially imploding, it would be wrong to overlook issues that were at least in part responsible for preempting some of the ideology. Many sub-categories of illness burden the government. This is not a new problem. Every modern president has, at the very least, felt this problem tugging at the system. Considering that, it is easy to see how a knee-jerk reaction that consumes the benefits of an entire population is probably not the best solution. Destroying the security of a bunch to save a few is bad math, bad citizenry, and bad economics.

High premiums and high deductibles are taking a toll on wellness and preventative care. People simply can’t afford to pay the skyrocketing accumulation of bills. By the time the patient pays the high premiums, they cannot afford to accumulate more debt for expensive tests that will not be paid for by a policy with high deductibles. Based on this information, it is reasonable to believe quality of health and longevity since the inception of Obamacare will gradually decline. Health-and-wellness care and preventative testing saves lives and oodles of money.

Most people understand that, by diagnosing cancer in the earlier stages, a patient’s likelihood of survival increases, and the amount of money spent to achieve wellness decreases. Still, it isn’t cancer or even diabetes that is the most burdensome on society. Instead, it is mental illness and its stream of secondary partners that are so far-reaching it is hard to quantify. Mental illness is on the fringe of a multitude of social issues.

The Worldwide Health Organization, WHO, predicts mental-illness healthcare will cost $6 trillion a year for the worldwide community by 2030. This does not include secondary illness, addiction, incarceration, or any other associated or related socioeconomic costs that society or the federal government must bear. Perhaps the answer rests in better mental-wellness care.

Truthfully, even prior to Obamacare, most American healthcare policies were less than acceptable when it came to providing psychological or psychiatric care. Many policies in the final years of the free market allowed only six visits per episode or year for counseling services. Even psychologically sound people have life episodes that can put their mental well-being at risk.

What about addiction? Does anyone really believe a person wakes up one morning and decides they want to be a heroin or meth addict? Or, are these people in emotional crisis? Likewise, does a mentally balanced person arise with the idea of committing an act that will have them incarcerated by evening? It’s no wonder that the cost is phenomenal and unquantifiable.

Maybe, mental healthcare and assessments should be not only more accessible but positioned as preventative medicine, much like vaccines. And please, I understand that we must be very careful with too much government involvement in our lives, but we are at a crisis level. For goodness sake, people are mentally unstable based on the results of an election that took place almost nine months ago. So, for all my conservative friends out there believing I have flipped my lid, wait a minute. We the people and/or the government are already involved and paying for all of it by more than ten-fold.

Although it was much less costly, the U.S. government met a similar crisis with flooding. The National Flood Insurance Act, passed in 1968, ultimately established the National Flood Insurance Program as a vehicle to offset costs for both the government and the consumer or flood victim. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the National Flood Insurance Program is undoubtedly a failure. In May of this year, the program was about $23 billion in debt, and the FEMA borrowing ceiling had to be raised. Still, what would the debt ratio be without a program to replace some funds? Even without the program, the nation would foot the bill. Our system would not leave these people homeless due to an act of nature.

To reiterate, we are already spending massive amounts of money that could surely be curtailed by normalizing routine care and making it more accessible and affordable for mental-wellness care. Sorry, fellow conservatives — this is a crisis. Of course, it has been said before, but lives and money are spiraling out of control, and, even if it means a government-funded mental-wellness insurance, we must do it. It won’t make money; it won’t even pay for itself. The federal government will just spend less, and we will save a few mental crises from happening — and it might have an impact in the areas of crime, addiction, abuse, and psychosomatic illness.

Read Part 2 – Federal Addiction and Mental Healthcare