April 20, 2014

Obamacare will be an improvement of America’s current healthcare system

Brett Limer
Wes Rains
Guest Columnists

While far from perfect, the ACA (Affordable Care Act), or Obamacare, is actually an attempt to improve the health care of Americans going forward.  Yes, there are many unknowns —that is true for any new path chosen. However, the current health care system is untenable, and doing nothing is not an option.  We have the most expensive and complex health care system that fails to deliver equitably, and leaves more citizens without coverage than any other developed country on the planet.  In other words, our health care system is nearly broken.  Change was and is needed.
As previously mentioned, there are many things we do not know yet, because open enrollment is only now taking place starting Oct. 1, 2013.  However, many improvements are already being felt, such as:  no dollar cap on coverage, no exclusions due to pre-existing conditions, children covered on their parents’ policies until age 26, equal costs for men and women, to name but a few.  These changes, respectively, mean that:  now if you get cancer and your treatment costs 2 million dollars, your insurance company cannot deny your claim.  From this point forward, if you get a disease like cancer, then recover, then change jobs, or have your job eliminated, and have to seek out insurance on your own, you cannot be denied coverage.  Your children that just graduated college or that are still in college, can rest easily and stay on your policy until they find employment that covers them, or are financially able to purchase coverage on their own. These benefits offer great piece of mind in this fragile economic recovery. Finally, there is no more gender punishment for being a woman.  Women get the same coverage for the same amount of money.  How can this not be a great development?
Our advice given to everyone we know is simple:  Be patient, and embrace the changes as much as possible. Go to http://healthcare.gov to find direct answers to the questions and concerns that you may have. Sure, there will be hiccups along the way.  And of course, there will be aspects of the new laws that Americans may decide thatthey want to do away with.  If this turns out to be the case, we have an orderly legislative repeal process that has served our republic well since the beginning days of America.  Sure, these things take time, but so will the implementation and experience of using Obamacare before we will be able to truly judge its success.  We do believe this, however, as stated above:  Despite its potential flaws, the ACA is an improvement in all American’s health care, and a step in the right direction.  If we take two steps forward and one back, we are still stepping forward.  Time will even things out, and take out any aspects of Obamacare that do more harm than good.
Finally, we believe that in a generation or so, the ACA will not only be well-received, but hailed as a watershed moment in our government’s ability to help the middle class.  We see similarities between Obamacare now, and Social Security and Medicare now versus implementation.  Social Security was seen as a socialist plot by Congress in the 1930s, and they vigorously tried to stop President Roosevelt’s signature plan. He prevailed, and so did America. Even though there are debates over the funding of Social Security, it has a proven track record of being one of the most popular programs ever enacted by the U.S. Government.  Why?  Because as a basic lifeline, it has kept millions of our seniors out of poverty during their golden years.  Medicare is another example, and one that Congress was not too pleased with during President Johnson’s attempt at his “Great Society”.  Many said it was the beginning of the end of America.  And here we are 40 years later, and Medicare is extremely popular among a majority of Americans.  We believe that once the hands of time have progressed through a generation, Obamacare will be looked upon with similar satisfaction.
In the meantime, let’s get excited about the coming changes!  Enrollment is now.  Kansas decided to not create its own health insurance exchange, and opted to have the federal government operate it instead.  You can visit http://insureks.org to find more information, use a calculator to estimate your subsidies and premiums, and enroll in a health insurance plan.
You have choices for your health care.  Just like a change in the tax code – or getting a new computer or phone — change can mean frustration, anger, and fear.  But eventually the kinks get worked out and change becomes the new normal. We say that 2014 is the beginning of a newer and better normal for Americans and their health care.
Please go to http://gedems.org/aca for additional information about Obamacare and the health insurance marketplace.

Limer and Rains serve as the chair and vice chair of the Gardner Edgerton Democrats.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    I consider the Affordable Care Act one of the most important and needed laws that has been passed in our country’s history. Myself I doubt very much that I will ever now be needing this insurance plan but when I was 18 months from turning 65, I needed that coverage very badly but it was not available so I had to purchase coverage thru the Kansas assigned risk plan which was lousy and expensive. I never had to use it but it would have been almost worthless with a $7,000 deductible and a cap of $100,000 coverage but it was all that was available to me. Insurers do insure people 63 1/2 unless they are forced to. People who have health insurance are fortunate because it brings financial security to their family. The only people I hear moaning and groaning about the Affordable Care Act are those, for the most part, who have never been in position of not having health care coverage and for selfish/uncaring reasons they think the people who find themselves in that position are responsible in some way. Again, why I continue to believe that Red Republicans, such as Romney, do not CONNECT with the average citizen in so many ways and why they do not work for them. When citizens are not heard, seen nor valued then there is NO connection.

    So many excuses are used by people who are in fear of change. I have seen it in myself thru the years and others. A couple of years ago I went to my local physician and his office was in the process of changing to the new medical records paperless system. My doctor was gritching about the new system as he was on his laptop while at the same time clutching to his old paper file for comfort and out of fear. I encouraged him to be grateful for this new system since it would help him give better and quicker service for his patients and even make his job easier. A poor attitude to change makes the process even harder for all affected by the change. Yesterday I was in his office and now he whips through that laptop with all of the information he has trained his personnel to enter, the detailed previous info is there for his use and it is much better for him and everyone going thru his practice just as I had told him it would be a couple of years ago. I could say that since I was instrumental in helping my company go paperless in 1986 which is nearly 30 years ago. I cannot imagine why it has taken so long for so many government entities and businesses to go papersless but in a way I can – it is out of fear of change and how people will fight change.

    I believe there are 30 to 50 MILLION citizens who need health care coverage in the U.S. I believe the Affordable Care Act will be a savior to many of them while also helping citizens who have health insurance since they will not be paying as much for the costs of the uninsured. Jobs will be created by this expansion of coverage – good jobs – not some damn hire and fire, low paying, no benefit jobs in a warehouse. The Red Republicans are not governing for their citizens – they are governing from their hardened hearts and for the thieves who bloodsuck our citizens every day of the week.

    Medicare and Prescription D Coverage (Bush sure as hell didn’t face the flak from Democrats on that new program and they didn’t try to shut down the government because of it) serve me well and I am very grateful for those programs. I still have to pay for Part B of Medicare plus hundreds of dollars for a supplement plan but it all works well for me but I do have to sacrifice to pay the costs every month but I don’t complain about it. There has to be a connection between the citizens and their elected officials to make the U.S. the very best it can be for ALL. In my opinion based on what I have seen for numerous years, the Red Republicans don’t give a crap about that connection – they don’t see me, hear me nor value me and it is proved to me by their words, actions, inaction and voting records.

    The people better be making better choices in that voting booth if they value their financial stability for themselves and their families and they better not be sucked in by propaganda and rhetoric but get themselves educated and informed on important issues and I am not talking about what they hear on some asinine Facebook page. Be an independent thinker and protect yourselves and don’t fall for the lies and hate mongering put out by so many which will NOT serve you well.

    So, WELCOME TO THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, warts and all, and lets work to make it the best it can be. Families across the U.S. will benefit from it along with the stability and security of our country. If our people are strong and caring, so will our country because our people have ALWAYS AND CONTINUE TO BE THE BACKBONE OF THE U.S. OF AMERICA.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    I omitted an important word in a sentence in the first paragraph – it should have read “Insurers do NOT insure……….”

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    I just saw this comment on another site: Jan Pringle: Excellent article. Now, if only the Governor hadn’t declined the federal funds to expand Medicaid, then the truly needy would be getting help. This new donut hole is vicious and cruel.

    *********************************************************************

    I totally agree with Ms. Pringle. I have been reading more in the last few days with respect to this doughnut hole and it has a terrible affect on poor people. Brownbackistan and his fellow Red Republicans could have expanded Medicaid the first year of the Affordable Care Act with the federal government paying all of the costs and they will pick up 90% of the costs thereafter. But no, the slimeballs cut these people off from the help they need so much and it is unconscionable in my opinion and it makes me sick to think we have citizens in this state operating in such a manner. The Red Republicans do not want to help these poor people either at the federal or state level. Expanding Medicaid would have good affects for our state also such as creating many more good jobs which brings more financial security and stability to our families and OUR STATE.

    This doughnut hole problem will have to be handled at the federal level where hopefully the people across the U.S. care more than the politicians and their supporters do here in Kansas. Ole Sen. Roberts has told the people for eons to subsidize the Kansas farmers up the ying yang for years and we are talking about billions and billions of dollars and the U.S. citizens are paying 60% of farmers’ crop insurance premiums every year but he and Brownback and many others don’t want to help out a poor, disabled, sick person – no way, Jose, you are on your own. Cronyism government continues to be slimy and so many of those politicians work in the gutter every day of the week as evidenced by that little talk McDonnell and Rand were having yesterday when they thought they were off the mike – way too many of these lowlifes are working for the thieves rather the people who are the backbone of this country. It is going to come back and bite them in their butts in big ways, however, the sad part is, many citizens will also suffer in the process.

    I get more ashamed by the day as to what Kansans are supporting and enabling.

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