Andy Borowitz recently observed that Americans "may not like waiting online for health insurance, but [they'll] risk death for a flat screen" on Black Friday. Irrespective of our cultural quirks, "62 percent of bankruptcies in the U.S. are due to medical bills. Theresa Tamkins pointed out that 4 out of 5 of these people had health insurance, but drowned in copayments, deductibles and uncovered services." (See - http://cnn.it/196ARcH)
As it was, we paid medical expenses for all citizens - with or without insurance - who wound up in emergency rooms. But that's the most expensive - and least effective - way to provide health care, an enormous burden for hospitals and medical professionals, which, by law, must provide care. Something had to be done.
The Obama administration may have underestimated how many substandard health insurance policies Americans bought, because good coverage costs too much. The administration may have also underestimated the complexity of coordinating dozens of websites among various agencies and insurers. And who could have predicted how far the opposition would go to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? Healthcare.gov was supposed to coordinate 50 individual state exchanges, but in 28 states the GOP denied their residents their own exchanges, forcing the federal government to cover them.
Perhaps, we can celebrate the key improvements established by the ACA:
- Our state's new insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado (www.connectforhealthco.com), will improve consumer knowledge and access to coverage.
- More than 160,000 Coloradans will qualify through Medicaid.
- Subsidies will be provided for low-income Coloradans.
- Small-business tax credits will help cover their employees.
- All policies will contain "essential health benefits", eliminating inadequate coverage.
- Particularly helpful for rural Coloradans is the federal funding of community health centers.
Far from a government takeover, the ACA is a clearing house, a guarantee of quality health care coverage for all. Private insurers are held to tougher standards, consumers are allowed to select better rates for private doctors and facilities by choosing among policies. In the long-run, everyone benefits.
Karen Davidson adopted Colorado as her home state 17 years ago, taking great interest in the health care problems of single moms.
Davidson's response to Carno:
Wednesday's Gazette (Dec. 4) reported that over 95 percent of Carno's 250,000 canceled policies were, in fact, offered a chance to renew their existing policies - or they could shop through Connect for Health Colorado. To exercise meaningful "personal responsibility," what could be better than the good information and consumer advocacy that the ACA exchanges provide?
Mortgage companies require insurance when you finance. When you license your car, you buy liability insurance.
The most important fact is that more people will be covered by good insurance.