By BRYAN GRAY
The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis County Clipper.
Despite questions from readers I have refrained from expressing my opinion on the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). However, in the current environment of government shutdowns and political posturing about the measure, I am offering my opinion. And I suspect you won’t like it.
Point One – The health insurance system we had previously was unsustainable. Insurance costs were skyrocketing, people were being turned down for coverage due to pre-existing conditions, almost one in five Americans had no health insurance. Many with no coverage were driving up costs for the rest of us by showing up in hospital emergency rooms for treatment of a cough, and attorneys were claiming that medical bills were the major reason for personal bankruptcy filings. We weren’t the healthiest people in the world but we had the some of the highest costs in the civilized world. Something had to happen.
Point Two – Pres. Obama’s plan has definite problems. It contains too many unanswered questions and outcomes, and the lack of support for it is a result of the confusion. However, the basic concept behind it came from the conservative Ronald Reagan-supporting Heritage Foundation, not a bunch of socialist Democrats. The idea was that Americans had to be accountable for their health and everyone should pay their fair share for health coverage. The conservatives also understood that a health insurance system could not exist if young, healthy people didn’t buy it, leaving older and more sickly citizens to keep the system solvent.
Point Three – Despite the raging of Sen. Mike Lee and other Tea Party activists, “Obamacare” is constitutional. Under the Constitution, the Supreme Court decides what is and isn’t constitutional, not some farmer in Sanpete County who has attended an Eagle Forum rally.
Point Four – Until the system is firmly in place, we won’t know how “affordable” the Affordable Care Act will be. However, a study by HealthPocket.com, an insurance rating site, has said that 2014 health insurance plans on state on-line exchanges will provide better benefits than 98% of the individual health plans sold today. It will also be possible, according to a Parade Magazine analyst, for a family of four making $40,000 per year and now paying $1,000 a month for insurance to buy better coverage for only $165 per month with a federal subsidy. Call me stupid, but that doesn’t sound like ruinous scenario voiced by the Tea Party Crowd.
Point Five – The American public is confused about the healthcare act but not totally opposed to it. A CNBC poll found that by a 44%-38% margin Americans oppose eliminating funding for “Obamacare” even though only 29% view it positively. A Bloomberg poll encouraged Republicans to accept the act as the law of the land by a 50%-43% margin, and a New York Times-CBS poll found 56% to 38%, that Americans support upholding “Obamacare” rather than defunding it.
Final Point – There will be problems when the act is fully implemented. The best course will be to have Republicans and Democrats work together to tweak the bill and correct problems as they arise rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That’s what rational people do; analyze and make corrections.
If your blood pressure has risen in the last few minutes, remember I warned you that you might not like what I had to say.