Addressing the Affordable Care Act | Letter

As the GOP aligns their membership to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now is a good time to consider some of the problems it was intended to address.

Prior to enactment of the ACA, poor and indigent folks relied upon community clinics and emergency rooms for health services. The cost of their treatment was covered by states, charities, local communities and Medicaid. Uninsured folks with moderate income sometimes incurred large medical debt that could overshadow other concerns for years.

The number of uninsured non-elderly dropped by more than 13 million after the enactment of the ACA. This number could have been higher if 19 GOP-controlled states did not refuse to accept federal dollars to expand their Medicaid programs. The result of their refusal is that millions of otherwise-eligible Americans did not qualify for Medicaid and thus continue to find health insurance too expensive for their budgets.

By refusing federal assistance, 19 states assured that health insurance would remain too expensive for many of their elderly, fixed-income and low-income wage-earners whose employers did not offer health-insurance benefits. States that refused Medicaid expansion dollars have seen the lowest drop in number of uninsured.

The ACA includes a mandate for individual coverage. A modest but increasing fine is levied against those who do not sign up. The mandate is a controversial feature but it is the linchpin that makes other beneficial features possible. Without a mandate for coverage, insurers would not have enough younger, healthier people on their rolls to ensure an adequate base of premiums to cover the sick and elderly.

Under the ACA, there is no exclusion for pre-existing conditions, lifetime benefit caps are eliminated, preventative services and immunizations are covered at zero or low co-pay, parents can keep children on their plan up to age 26, coverage for substance abuse and mental health counselling is mandated, the so-called “doughnut hole” in Medicare coverage would be eliminated by 2020, and finally, the ACA is projected to reduce the federal deficit by 143 billion over 10 years by shifting costs to health-care providers, pharmacies and raising taxes on the wealthy.

Health-care providers frequently charge the uninsured higher rates for service than those negotiated with an insurance provider. Going without health insurance has the effect of raising rates for everyone, just as an uninsured motorist transfers their property damage and medical care liability to those that buy coverage. We need the mandate for coverage in health care for the same reason it’s mandated for motorists.

Please write your elected representatives to express your personal experience with health care and your point of view on the impending repeal of “Obamacare” and the associated effort to privatize Medicare.

Ira Worden

Kirkland

More in Letters to the Editor

Campaign funds for community | Letter

Thanks to all the Redmond voters that made this election energetic and… Continue reading

Community weighs in on the election | Letter to the editor

Birney: a true community builder I first met Angela Birney in 2013,… Continue reading

Vote to re-elect Siri Bliesner | Letter

I am so grateful to have Siri Bliesner representing our children and… Continue reading

Birney walks the talk | Letter

Angela Birney is the best choice for Redmond mayor. I spent 11… Continue reading

Birney’s vision for community | Letter

Why do residents and community leaders across our region endorse Angela Birney… Continue reading

EvergreenHeatlh and the Great ShakeOut | Letter

Millions of people worldwide will practice how to drop, cover and hold… Continue reading

Fields is clear choice | Letter

Over the last several months, weeks, and days, I have been researching… Continue reading

Fields committed to Redmond | Letter

Thank you, Redmond Reporter for providing the Oct. 3 mayoral debate online… Continue reading

Fields puts people first | Letter

Redmond has a strong mayor system of government, which gives the choice… Continue reading

Vote for Bliesner | Letter

I am writing in support of Siri Bliesner for Position 5 on… Continue reading

Adopt, don’t shop | Letter

As two 16-year-old volunteers with Seattle Humane (SH), animal welfare has always… Continue reading

Not made for commercial development | Letter

On Oct. 7 the King County Council will vote on the adult… Continue reading