Affordable Care Act
In your 1/4/17 editorial, I was struck by your describing the Affordable Care Act as “the national health care takeover law,” and trying to make sense of this flagrant yet often repeated mischaracterization once again given that the main thing it does is to provide a marketplace for private insurers to compete, while providing subsidies to those who otherwise couldn’t afford such insurance to be able to do so now. Not sure how that makes it a “national health care takeover law.”
Then I was struck again by your subsequent statement that there are “millions of Americans hurt, not helped, by it” — which raised this question: who exactly are these people? Surely they are not among those more than 20 million who now have health insurance which they couldn’t afford to have previously? Or those with pre-existing conditions who no longer can be denied coverage? Or those young adults who can now be covered under their parents’ insurance as needed until the age of 26? Or those millions currently on Medicare, since the financial solvency of this program has been extended by 11 years (until 2028) as a result of the implementation of various provisions of “Obamacare?”
Certainly there is the mandate for at least minimum coverage, along with its associated tax penalties — but people have a choice here. And insurance rates have indeed risen — but then it’s not like insurance rates never rose before “Obamacare,” is it? And often more significantly? Plus “Obamacare” subsidies have risen to offset these increases to a large degree.
So ultimately the issue boils down to this: do those negatives outweigh the positives? Do the overall “costs” of various kinds outweigh the “benefits?” And will the Republican plan to replace it (and do they even have one?!) be at least as good overall when subjected to this same type of costs/benefits analysis? Tens of millions of our fellow Americans who currently depend on “Obamacare” for affordable health care are nervously waiting to see what the Republicans now in power choose to do. May they approach this issue with the genuine intent to do what is truly best for this nation’s people whom they are duty-bound to represent and serve.
Dale E. Buonocore,