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Health Care on the Line

The Affordable Care Act provides needed benefits to so many Americans that it's hard to understand why opponents want to destroy it.

This week the United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. 

These legal challenges are one element of a massive coordinated effort by Republicans and their conservative backers to repeal or undermine a law that has so much to offer Americans. 

Two years ago President Obama achieved what no other president had accomplished for decades – comprehensive reforms that improve access to affordable health care, and end the worst insurance company abuses. No longer will insurers be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, charge women more than men for the same coverage or place a limit on essential health benefits.

This law has already helped millions of middle-class families, seniors and young people receive quality affordable health care – health care they would not otherwise have been able to receive. And it has saved lives. 

President Obama kept his word and because of his tireless commitment to health care reform, Medicare is stronger for 47 million Americans, women can get free life-saving preventive services such as mammograms, children won’t lose their coverage just because they were born with pre-existing conditions like asthma and an additional 2.5 million young adults now have insurance because they can stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26. As a total package, President Obama’s health care reform will even help reduce the federal deficit.

Why the opponents of the Affordable Care Act would want to take these benefits away from the American people – and increase the federal deficit in the process – is hard to understand.

Thankfully, Americans can count on President Obama and Democrats to stand up for them and for access to affordable health care.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Cathy March 28, 2012 at 02:30 PM
It is frustrating that those who are in favor of OBAMACARE are not willing to acknowledge the damage that it will cause... The cure is worse than the disease. Refusing to acknowledge the damage this initiative causes many Americans in the name of serving the most unfortunate among us is made worse knowing that that damage I reference will undermine the sustainability of the good precepts that OBAMACARE offers. This law as already been the cause of lost jobs among other things. The government would serve us all better by stepping back and allowing healthcare service providers to operate in a competitive field so that they can be free of burdensome regulations that skew and unnecessarily raise the cost of healthcare. Medicare is a prime example of why things cost so much. And the fact that every American must be a client of Medicare when they 'come of age' is part of the problem... Just try insuring yourself privately after the age of 65. You can't.
Henry Bright March 28, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Agreed that the law is far from perfect. A single payer plan would have been much better; much lower overhead, better control on costs. I don't understand Cathy's comment about Medicare as an example of why things cost so much. Medicare is undeniably far lower than private insurance on administrative costs, and it pays providers less than private insurance. Sure there is abuse but there is abuse under private insurance also, and the solution is better policing, not elimination of Medicare. Health care service providers will never operate in a competitive field. Even without insurance, most people do not shop for medical services on a cost basis; they look for the best or they go where it is convenient; e.g., nearest hospital. With insurance, private or governmental, there is no cost incentive at all, except to the extent that the insurance company limits the amount of payment. But in that case, the providers are not operating in a competive field. There have been relatively few governmental regulations on healthcare providers in the past, but costs have been increasing by multiples of the CPI for many years. I would like to know how and why the law has already been the cause of lost jobs. I had not heard of any. I do know that it has already helped many people get coverage that would not have been available otherwise.
Diana Curenton March 28, 2012 at 03:34 PM
No one has lost a job over this, see it's people like Cathy that speak untruths that confuse most folks, This law the mandate and other guidlines haven't been enacted yet. The bulk of this law starts 2014, what is in the law that is enacted now is: Children can stay on the parents insurance until age 26 Medicare gives free annual check ups including mamograms and other screenings with out even a co-pay The donut hole closes by$600 for seniors this year. People simply don't know because the republicans made this bill evil and clouded the real benifits.
Cathy March 29, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Henry & Diana, as a small business owner, my husband had to reduce his staff and ultimately had to leave his business. 24 employees in 2008 down to 6 and his ex -partner is unable to continue to fully fund healthcare for the remaining 6 because of the escalating premiums and believes that he will 'necessarily' have to go on the gov't plan if and when it goes into effect. A friend had to exchange pay increases to maintain healthcare coverage over the past several years. The majority of jobs that are opening up are only part time to keep the health insurance issue off the employers plate of responsibilities. InI regard to allowing 'kids' under 26 to stay on their parents policies, that can be done on a state level as Connecticut did several years ago. There is also so much in this bill that have nothing to do with health care like the new sales tax on real-estate transactions that make the loss to the homeowner even more painful.
Cathy March 29, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Why did they include the nationalization of student loans to one lender in this bill? Can we afford the 159 new bureaucratic agencies & all their regulations yet to be disclosed that are in this bill? The original estimate of cost was 900 billion, then it upgraded to 1.2 trillion and has now been adjusted to 2.6 trillion DOLLARS... I kind of think I know how a gamblers spouse feels... I don't care what letter one puts after their name in order to vote in a primary. I prefer to get our government and the people we elect to run it to actually honor the oath of office they take when they take office... You know, the one about protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States. My mom always said that two wrongs don't make a right and it is time to undo the the wrongs of the last century. Don't get me wrong, I think health care costs are out of control but I do not think that is is the American Governments role to rectify the problem. They have other things to focus on.
Henry Bright March 29, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Cathy, I really do sympathize with your business woes. It has been a hard time for so many people, especially here in Florida. But don't blame ACA; the law has not caused premiums to increase, at least not yet because it is not yet in effect except for a couple of features which have barely begun to operate. Healthcare costs have been increasing rapidly for years; that was part of why OCA was needed in the first place.
Cathy March 29, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Henry, the escalating cost to manage our collective health care with insurance companies has been affected by the fact that our government has been forcing doctors and other service providers to do run their business the gov't way that is causing doctors to consider leaving the field. I know a few who will be out of business soon. The fact that Mo's doctors are no longer accepting new Medicare patients speaks volumes. So when I get there... Of age... I hope there are doctors who are willing to do business with me. Why must we accept having gov't involved in our health care? What is worse in this bill are all the items that have nothing to do with health care?
Henry Bright March 29, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Cathy, on the new "sales tax on real estate transactions" you are wildly off the mark. There is no sales tax. There is an income tax, imposed on capital gains on real estate. For a joint return, the tax is only on the gain in excess of $500,000, and only if adjusted gross income is over $250,000. So if a couple sells their house and has a gain of $550,000, and their adjusted gross income (which excludes the first $500,000 of the gain) is $400,000, the tax is imposed only on $50,000, and amounts to $1750. Only a tiny fraction of taxpayers will ever pay this tax, especially nowadays when hardly anyone has any gain at all on selling their house. It may be true that states could require coverage for kids under age 26, but most have not done so and many would never do so voluntarily. I cannot imagine the current Florida Governor and/or legislature doing that. An article in the Washington Post, reprinted in today's Herald Tribune, headed "On Both Sides, Costs Misrepresented" says that the claim that the price tag is twice as much as originally thought is incorrect, since "the year by year budget numbers show little change in cost estimates". Read the article. It is really unfortunate that there is so much false information being circulated by people who want to see Obama defeated. I do heartily endorse the sentiment that elected representatives should honor their oath of office. I don't think that making the defeat of Obama the primary objective meets this criterion.
Henry Bright March 29, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Correction: In my previous example, the tax rate is 3.8% so the tax in the example would be $1900, not $1750.
Henry Bright March 29, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Many doctors are not accepting new Medicare patients because they feel the Medicare reimbursement rates are too low. If Medicare rates were higher, doctors would be more willing but healthcare costs would increase even faster. The doctors may be right, but there is something rotten in the private sector also. How else do you account for the fact that I get a bill for about $1200 for which the Medicare allowed payment is only about $100.
Cathy March 29, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Under a Rep Gov, CT, instituted kids living @ home up to age 26 could remain on their parents policy. Let's try asking our Gov to do the same. CT Medicade program was under $200 a month per person 3 years ago, with no pre-existing exemption conditions and a Million $ life time cap on benefits. So in the event of catistrofic illness, the gov't program leaves medicade customers without sufficient coverage because a millinon dollars doesnt go far these days. The gov't isn't be able to protect anyone from having to pay for (medical) services. The safety net system we currently have is not strong enough to support us all. Then, the costs went from under $200 to $446 per month per person so a family of 4 that earns $40 or even $60,000 per year is further strapped to put food on the table while bing forced into the gov't program because the regs 'allow' priviate insurance companies to not insure a significant portion of the population 'necessarly' 'forcing' govt to come to the rescue.. Inefficient bureaucratic interference only adds to the cost of our collective health care because the businesses have to spread their loss by charging outrageous fees. For $21,408 one should be able to purchase a much better policy than the gov't/Medicaid product 'they'have created. And while I mis-spoke about the additional cost to home owners/sellers technically, I still do not see where it is appropriate or helpful to resolving healthcare cost issues.

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