Saturday, June 30, 2012

More on health care

A few more thoughts about the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act:

This gentleman called in to Diane Rehm's Friday News Roundup yesterday to describe the difficulty of obtaining health insurance under the present system and why the Affordable Care Act offers hope. His story is touching and compelling and the core issue our Senators and Representatives should be solving.

This family's story isn't the only example.

A colleague is getting divorced and is concerned that his soon-to-be-former wife won't be able to get health insurance. She doesn't work and likely has what the insurance companies would consider a pre-existing condition.

I recently explored forming my own consulting company and getting health insurance for my family. The state's major insurance company said they would not underwrite my daughter until 10 years past her last surgery.

Those against Obamacare seem largely focused on the supposed government takeover of the health insurance industry — such claims seem hyperbole to me — and what the government can and cannot tell citizens to do. I just wish they would be as passionate about the moral issue of ensuring access to health insurance for all Americans.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Supreme Court upholds the health care law

I was pretty sure the Supreme Court was going to strike down the Affordable Care Act, given the uproar about the provision or mandate requiring people to buy health insurance coverage. That the Court didn't and that Chief Justice John Roberts joined — nay wrote — the majority opinion brought tears to my eyes when I heard the breaking news yesterday morning.

We live in a politically polarized country, so it is not a surprise that those who oppose the health care law — dubbed Obamacare — immediately called for the law's repeal. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor promises a vote on July 11, when the House returns from recess. And House Majority Leader John Boehner is almost apoplectic in arguing that the only reasonable course is for the law to be "ripped out by its roots."

While it's far from perfect — can anything designed by committee be even close to perfect? — the Affordable Care Act is a positive step forward in successfully addressing the major health-care issue this country faces: access to health insurance. And it attempts to limit the rising cost of health care.

I think we need to give it a chance to work and then improve it. And I felt compelled to say so to my Republican Senator and Representative:
Congress passed the law. The President signed it. The Supreme Court upheld it. 
Now let us see how it works and then make improvements based upon experience – not hypothetical concerns or political ideology. 
To state that you want to repeal the law without offering a specific, comprehensive alternative is irresponsible, in my opinion. The Affordable Care Act, despite its shortcomings, provides a means for Americans to have health insurance without denied coverage due to preexisting conditions and the risk of rescission, with serious illness. To help address the increasing cost of medical care, the law contains several provisions, including emphasizing preventative care and limiting the amount insurance companies can spend on administration and marketing. 
Rather than hurting economic growth, I believe ready access to health care that is not tied to employment will actually stimulate entrepreneurial activity, new business creation, and job growth. 
It’s a travesty that America is the only developed nation without universal access to health insurance. I believe we have a moral obligation as a country to solve that problem – which the free market has been unable to do on its own. 
So let’s suspend the rhetoric and give the law a fair chance to work.
Read the Supreme Court's full ruling here.