Once again healthcare, via the Affordable Care Act, is taking center stage in Washington DC. The House has voted to continue to fund the government but not the Affordable Care Act. John McCain told CNN on Thursday: “In the United States Senate, we will not repeal, or defund, Obamacare. We will not. And to think we can is not rational.” Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, said of the House Republicans’ strategy of threatening a government shutdown to force the defunding of Obamacare, “I think it’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.” Even though the public opposes the Affordable Care Act they do because the majority of them believes it doesn’t go far enough.
According to Charles M Blow in an opt-ed in today’s Times “Some (?) twist poll results to buttress their bitterness. They point to polls showing that most Americans opposed the law as fuel for their fight. What they neglect to reveal is that a sizable portion of those who opposed the law do so because they don’t think it goes far enough, not because it goes too far. A May CNN/ORC poll found that 43 percent of Americans favored the law while 54 percent opposed it. But it also found that of those polled, 16 percent opposed the law because they thought that it wasn’t liberal enough. Put another way, 59 percent of Americans support the law or want it to be more liberal.”
Furthermore, a poll released this week by the Pew Research Center found that of the 53 percent of Americans who said they disapproved of the law, the percentage who want elected officials who oppose the law to try to make it work as well as possible was larger than the percentage who wanted them to try to make it fail.
Recent data provided by the nation’s largest health insurance companies reveals that a provision of the Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare – is bringing big numbers of the uninsured into the health care insurance system. Every one of the young immortals we add to the rolls of the insured is one less young adult who will turn to the emergency room to fix a broken leg and then find themselves unable to pay the bill – leaving it to the rest of us to pay the tab. Because the under 26 crowd tends not to get sick, adding them to the insurance pools helps bring the very balance that was intended by the new law. The more healthy people available to pay for those in the pool who are ill (translation- the older people), the better the system works and the lower our premium charges should go.
Physician groups support the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because it will improve health care for patients. Doctors care about patients, and they support laws that help them do work for patients—laws that protect those to whom we’ve dedicated their careers. The ACA provides important benefits for ALL Americans: The ACA provides multiple benefits for the middle class. Considering the major role that healthcare costs play in personal bankruptcies (PDF), it is clear that ensuring the affordability of healthcare provides a crucial protection for middle class Americans. Affordable insurance–made more so by government support to help lower income families and changes in insurance enrollment that are predicted to reduce the cost for all–will allow most Americans to see the health benefits of having health insurance (PDF).
The ACA bans the practice of rescissions, in which insurance companies would seek reasons to retroactively cancel members’ insurance coverage once those members became ill and most needed the protection. Thanks to the ACA, insurance companies will have less control over patients’ healthcare. Insurers will be required to offer insurance to everyone regardless of whether or not they have a preexisting medical condition–a benefit that has already gone into effect for children and is planned to go into effect for adults in 2014. The ACA prevents insurance companies from setting arbitrary limits to patients’ lifetime health insurance benefits, and as of 2014 will eliminate annual limits to care. Insurance companies are required to spend 80-85% of members’ premiums on providing benefits to those members, as opposed to using that money for administrative costs or executive salaries.
I believe that as the wealthiest nation in the world nobody should have to worry about healthcare costs or choose between food and medications. Is Obamacare perfect? No far from it but rather than seek to repeal it we should try and strengthen it rather than spend $1 billion a day in a war that nobody cares about.