21st Century Healthcare, Obamacare, and Affordability
“The irony of the [Affordable Care Act] is that it was Republicans, via their premiere think tank, the Heritage Foundation, who came up with the idea in the first place."
- John Aravosis AmericaBlog, 2013
I am alive today solely due to 21st Century Healthcare. I have three heart stents. My Dad died of heart issues at 55 years old, before there were heart stents and heart bypass surgery were not yet routine. In the United States of America I believe every citizen has a right to 21st Century Healthcare – be it for a major issue like a heart attack or a child suffering with a sore throat. The challenge – 21st Century Healthcare is expensive and getting more expensive. Certainly, everyone, rich or poor, needs a financial resource plan for their healthcare and access to coverage. Survival of the fittest should not be our nation’s healthcare policy. As a Nation our government is responsible to address National Security and as a nation our collective Financial Security with sound national budgets and monetary policies. In the 21st Century I believe the government also has a responsibility to all citizens to address, assure, and deliver Healthcare Security.
Obamacare/ACA: I am a self-employed person with a preexisting condition (heart stents) – Before Obamacare I was denied even the opportunity to buy quality health insurance in the private marketplace. My one option before the ACA was to buy ONE expensive plan via the South Carolina High Risk pool (SCHIP) In 2015 when Obamacare/ACA launched the exchanges – I suddenly had 28 plans to choose from. Since the ACA launched over 20 million additional people now have quality healthcare insurance than before the ACA.
Obamacare Conclusion 1 – it’s an improvement. Conclusion 2 – it’s far from perfect. Conclusion 3 – improve it, not repeal it.
The Republicans voted many times for full repeal of the ACA. Yet, as their repeal efforts throughout 2017 clearly revealed, they did not have any credible Republican alternative to offer. The Republican tax plan now passed repeals the individual mandate component of the ACA, the most significant of their continuing efforts to fatally cripple the ACA. Yet they still have no plan to address the “Free Riders” that increase the premiums for those with Healthcare Security. As the quote above notes, the irony of all these efforts is that the basics of the ACA were advocated in 1989 by the conservative Heritage Foundation – yes, the organization previously run by Jim DeMint until they fired him.
What should Congress do now?: I believe it’s time, it’s essentially, that we should now work together, Republicans and Democrats, and take the good parts of the ACA (including coverage of pre-existing conditions, basic coverages, no maximum caps, 26 year old family plans) and deliver an ACA 2.0 that works better for our people and our economy. But this time we must seriously discuss other key issues like fast rising costs drivers, and avoid wasting time on non-serious things such as the fictitious “death panels” and the mythical legions of government bureaucrats “between you and your doctor.”.
Future Healthcare thought: Regarding pre-existing conditions – with DNA testing and gene analysis technologies, we are approaching a point where almost everyone will have identified pre-existing conditions. There are some Health privacy protections in place, but if we are not diligent – decisions on who is hired or not hired based on projected medical issues from DNA testing will become an issue of concern to all. Is Trey Gowdy thinking about that? I am.