Health: ACA needs to stay!

by Pat Mac

It’s good that Donald Trump is rethinking Obamacare, because having to deal with all the other ramifications of a Trump presidency and losing your health insurance when you’re depressed and sick to your stomach is too much for anyone on the blue side. (Not all the ACA policies had mental health coverage, and most of us never thought we would need one not until the day after 11/09/2016.)

The ACA, the “Affordable Care Act” as it is known by the health insurance industry and government, is called “Obamacare” by Republicans. They wanted it to sound negative or scary like “Braxton Hicks” or “Ebola.”  (No offense to the Ebola river; I’m sure it’s nice in the summer.  Or winter?)  I have always referred to the program as the ACA because it confuses people who get their news from social media and talk radio.

The joke now is the term “affordable”? With rising premiums and huge deductibles the average middle class person can’t afford it; only those who qualify for subsidy can.

           The question is who sets those prices?

         The insurance companies do, and they blame the ACA for having to raise them while their CEO’s walk away with millions in bonuses each year.

         There’s a reason why it’s called the “Healthcare Industry,” because like oil, tobacco and banking, for instance, it’s all about profit. Healthcare and pharmaceuticals now dispense more lobby money in Washington than oil and tobacco.  That is why we are in the mess we are in now.

            Millions of Americans who never had insurance before, now have it and could soon lose it because greed, egos and politics pervade our health system. No one can afford to walk into an emergency room, have tests ordered for chest pains, get a cardiologist referral and have a life-saving procedure done without filing for bankruptcy.

What happens when those who have no insurance, end up in an ambulance, spend five days in ICU and need follow up visits? They are given a different bill than those with insurance; the hospital “eats the loss”–that is, it passes the cost on to others—the county, the state, and/or insured patients.

Imagine what will happen when another 20 million lose their current insurance and depend on the ER?

What will insurance companies do when 20 million monthly payments—and the related government subsidies—disappear overnight?  Does anyone believe that will cause them to lower rates?

            What about all the new hospitals and urgent care facilities built and equipped since 2010?  Does anyone believe lower occupancy or locked doors will make health care costs go down?

And what will happen to all the doctors and nurses that won’t be needed anymore?

The biggest loser in the mess if the ACA were repealed?  Everyone? Billions of dollars and the health of millions are at stake over this.

The ACA was set up to protect the consumer with an out of pocket maximum, free preventative care checkups and subsidies. Those are definitely on the chopping block while coverage for preexisting conditions and children up to age 26 on their parents’ plans may be safe.

Yes, the ACA needs fixed, but not destroyed. There are too many people who have been left behind in the past who will be left again if it’s repealed.

 

Boise native Pat Mac is a caterer, a comedian, and co-star of the national touring show “Mac and the Big Cheese.”

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