Friday, June 29, 2012
Affordable Care Act - why all the angst?
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that most of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) IS constitutional. That paves the way for major changes in the health care system in this country. Actually, we don't have a "system" at all; we have a series of band-aids that were implemented to meet the health care needs of specific groups of people ... Medicaid, Medicare, VA, CHIPS, COBRA, etc. But make no mistake about it: this country does NOT have a health care "system."
The United States is the ONLY industrialized country in the world that does NOT have universal health care! And we call ourselves a progressive, compassionate country with moral authority? Hogwash!
Part of the problem now is that SCOTUS labeled the mandatory insurance provision a tax. Of course the Republicans on Capitol Hill are now yelling and screaming "TAX, TAX, TAX!" But let's look at this, shall we?
There is NO massive tax hike! Very few people will ever pay the penalty tax. If you can afford insurance, you'll have it, therefore ... no tax. If you can't afford insurance, there won't be a penalty tax at all! The only way you'll have to pay a penalty tax is if you CAN afford insurance, but don't get it. People who are assessed the tax will pay less than the amount of the payroll tax increase that Republicans nearly allowed to occur.
In addition, a new report from Families USA shows that 28.6 Americans (most in the middle class) will actually get tax cuts:
"We found that an estimated 28.6 million Americans will be eligible for the tax credits in 2014, and that the total value of the tax credits that year will be $110.1 billion. The new tax credits will provide much-needed assistance to insured individuals and families who struggle harder each year to pay rising premiums, as well as to uninsured individuals and families who need help purchasing coverage that otherwise would be completely out of reach financially. Most of the families who will be eligible for the tax credits will be employed, many for small businesses, and will have incomes between two and four times poverty (between $44,100 and $88,200 for a family of four based on 2010 poverty guidelines)."
So, what is the big deal? We have in this "compassionate, progressive" nation over 30 million people who do not have access to health care. That's shameful! And here's why including them in the insurance pot is good for everyone:
Uninsured people typically wait to see a health care professional until they are really ill. By that time, the illness has progressed to the point where it is more serious and requires more involved and more costly treatment and, perhaps, hospitalization. Who do you think pays for that care now? WE DO! If, however, they have access to health care, they will see doctors for checkups, health screenings, and treatment that could be less extensive (and less costly). They will be in the insurance pool and that makes a huge difference in the overall picture.
It's clear many people only hear the "you'll be forced to get health insurance" argument. They haven't taken the time to see what the Affordable Care Act really does - and really means to them. A woman I work with is outraged that she should be forced to get insurance. Uh ... she's on Medicare right now and that paid for her knee surgery! Perhaps she doesn't know that the Affordable Care Act has already reduced the amount of money she pays for prescriptions! Or, maybe she doesn't care ... this law was passed by Democrats and, well, she's not a Democrat.
If you want to see what the Affordable Care Act means for YOU, check out this interactive website:
Affordable Care Act - for YOU
After you check it out, ask yourself if you will benefit in any way from the Affordable Care Act. If you do, then get on board and support it. It's time to take politics out of health care!