Letter to the editor: Affordable Care Act foes soon will be proven wrong
October will bring the opening of insurance exchanges as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Some states will not initially accept Medicaid expansion funds, for purely political reasons, but every state will be provided exchanges whether administered by the state or federal government. As this program moves forward constructive criticism and improvement is good, distortion of the facts is not.
Fiction - everyone must purchase health insurance beginning is 2014. Fact - groups exempt include those with income so low that they do not file federal tax returns, anyone spending more than 8% of their income on health insurance, undocumented immigrants, incarcerated persons, Native Americans, religious objections and everyone with Medicare or Medicaid.
Fiction -the ACA creates a new government run insurance plan. Fact - No. Through increased federal regulation of the health insurance industry and tax credits, the ACA makes private insurance more reliable and affordable. Fiction - all businesses are required to provide employee health insurance. Fact - No. It does impose a penalty on larger employers (50 or more) that either do not offer a plan or offer unaffordable coverage (less than 0.2% businesses affected).
Fiction - health reform creates a "death panel" to make end of life decisions. Fact - this was a Medicare reimbursement to physicians for time spent with older patients about advance care planning. This provision was eliminated.
The other provisions rarely mentioned by critics are preexisting condition exception eliminated, young adults insured on parent's plan until age 26, no cost wellness screenings, improves prescription drug coverage for people with Medicare part D, limits insurance companies profits and overhead and provides grants for community health clinics.
The GOP controlled House of Representatives has taken votes to repeal the ACA (37 at last count). More than thirty harshest GOP critics of the law solicited and or received grants to fund community health clinics in their districts from the very program they claim to despise. (Sources - Department of Health and Human Services and Freedom of Information Act requests.)
"A cruel hoax and a delusion"
Ads in 100 newspapers thunder that reform would mean "the beginning of socialized medicine."The Wall Street Journal's editorial page predicts that the legislation will lead to "deteriorating service." Conservatives denounced the proposal as socialism, a plan for bureaucrats to make medical decisions as a means to ration health care.
Daniel Reed, a Republican representative from NY, said Americans would come to feel "the lash of the dictator."
Sen. Daniel Hastings, a Delaware Republican, declared it would "end the progress of a great country." John Taber, a Republican representative from NY, said "never in the history of the world has any measure been brought here so insidiously designed as to prevent business recovery, to enslave workers." These forecasts are not of the ACA but of Medicare (1965) and Social Security (1935).
The heirs of those that opposed Social Security and Medicare are showing that history does repeat itself. They, as those before them, will be again proven to be on the wrong side of history.