As a constituent, I am outraged at the arrogance of the Republican proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The plan would make coverage prohibitive for me and many others — particularly those who have been most hurt by the ravages of the Great Recession.
The proposal — the American Health Care Act (AHCA) — does nothing to make health care more affordable. What it does is create a two-tier health care system in our country — one for the wealthy for whom tax credits are irrelevant and another for those whose income, should it be high enough for tax credits to be relevant, is still not high enough to pay premiums on newly unsubsidized health insurance.
In the short, medium and long term, repealing the ACA would throw our health care system into disarray, strip away health insurance from millions of people, and harm families, children, seniors and people living with disabilities. It will also add millions to local health care costs; but they will be hidden, as hospital emergency rooms once again become the only primary care available to millions of Americans.
The ACA must be fixed, with meaningful mandates in the short term and legislation with real teeth, exercising control over pharmaceutical and drug treatment prices; also, by reducing deductibles whose high levels still hold basic care out of reach, even for covered patients.
It is time to get real about health care. Members of Congress are quite privileged in their health plans, while most of us are frustrated by the excesses of this for-profit health care provisioning. Our system spends more than any other country on administrative costs. Much of this is spent by the insurance companies: on litigation, duplicating efforts in advertising and marketing to protect their share of the pie, wasting countless millions in the effort to deny individual claims and administration of countless different fee schedules and prices for every conceivable slice of the health care marketplace.
We desperately need to make health care affordable. There is only one way to do this, and that means expanding the health care pool of every American to include every other American. In short, Medicare for all. I am not naive and I know this will not happen overnight. It will take courage, time and planning.
Congress should improve the ACA now and not pass any legislation that does not provide comparable or better access to affordable care, coverage and consumer protections than the Affordable Care Act.
MARY JANSEN, NORTH PALM BEACH