Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ACA

Opposition to the Affordable Care Act

by Bruce Karolle

Letter to the Editor

Marianas Variety

10/29/13

AMAZINGLY, Obamacare threatens America’s unique status among the world’s advanced economies.

As a nation where access to regular medical care has been a privilege, a privilege, according to many right-wing conservatives, that must be earned. We are the only advanced, Western-oriented country in the world with such a privileged healthcare system.

Our friends in Canada and our buddies the Brits (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), perhaps America’s two closest allies, have had for years superior national health plans for all their citizens, as have other developed countries, i.e., France, Australia and Israel. When measured comparatively, their costs are far less than ours over the past decades.

Since the days of President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (early 1900s), seven other U.S. presidents, in my lifetime, have proposed national healthcare plans (Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, JFK, LBJ, and Clinton). All of those past proposals and every piece of legislation put forth in the U.S. Congress – for a hundred years – failed, until the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Amazing!

The ACA passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives in 2010. In June 2012, it was approved by the Supreme Court through a legal constitutional challenge. And, because of traditional corporate opposition as well as from the nonsensical political far right, many are still committed to its demise.

By shutting down the federal government for more than two weeks, threatening a default on the national debt a couple of weeks ago, and, now, continuing to obstruct and provoke its collapse, Obamacare will come online in the midst of unprecedented political warfare.

Nevertheless, the essence of the ACA combines solutions to the increasingly higher medical costs and the problem of access to health insurance. The individual mandate will provide new customers for the medical industry that is required to undergo reforms.

Specifically, according to the experts writing in the Boston Globe and the Hartford Courant, the new law creates penalties for hospitals with high rates of poor care and high rates of patient re-admission. The old pay-for-quantity system rewarded hospitals for doing a bad job by not treating the patient effectively, so that patients had to return for more treatment. This changes care for the better and lowers costs.

Additional future tax penalties (effective date: 2018) on most expensive insurance healthcare plans have already seen employers shopping around to avoid the tax. Apparently, companies hope to avoid the coming tax and are beginning to scale back on the excessive health benefits and looking closer for ways to bring down the costs of health care.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will provide these well-advertized benefits:

  1. Access to affordable coverage for the uninsured with pre-existing conditions, preventing insurance companies from denying coverage of pre-existing or congenital health issues for their existing clients;
  2. Re-insurance for retiree health benefit plans;
  3. Closing the coverage gap in the Medicare (Part D) Drug Benefit;
  4. Small-business tax credits assuring employee coverage is more affordable; and
  5. Extension of dependent coverage for young adults, which means children stay on their family health insurance policies until the age of 26.
Despite radical opposition and rampant campaigns against Obamacare, the president and his supporters will see the implementation of this new healthcare law. Obviously, Congress can make changes – as the law is amendable and certainly could be improved. Democracy and sensible government regulation wins again.

The United States will finally join the group of advanced nations that already have universal healthcare systems in place for their respective populations.

Bruce G. Karolle,
Tamuning and Vernon, Conn.

 

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