Richard Boersma: Crippling Obamacare |

Richard Boersma: Crippling Obamacare

Before the Affordable Care Act of 2010, the United States was the only country among the 50 most economically advanced nations without a national health care program. The Trump administration has repeatedly tried to repeal Obamacare, without success.

Now, their plan is to whittle it down inch by inch, provision by provision, eventually crippling it so we can return to the profit-driven model where having health care is again a matter of privilege. That may be no problem to your budget, but it leaves millions of others with little or no care.

One of the crippling tactics now underway is to promote “short-term policies” at an attractive price (aka “limited duration,” “gap coverage” and “junk policies”). These are an insurance company’s dream.

Because they’re short term, insurance companies are not required to renew, providing a favorable risk ratio (and leaving many who really need coverage, out of luck). Also, people with known health conditions can be turned down or charged significantly higher premiums (unlike the ACA). And most alarming, most short-term policies do not cover maternity care, prescription drugs, preventive health (check-ups) and mental health concerns.

Those are critical omissions, all of them, but the last one bothers me most. I’m a mental health care provider, and I know first-hand the importance of psychological services when needed. It is not a luxury. Depression hurts the have-nots just as deeply as the haves.

Struggling with trauma and anxiety is difficult and often debilitating, regardless of one’s economic station. The pain left from suicide is as deep and broadly felt by families in Detroit as those in Steamboat Springs.

On the face of it, short-term policies make sense, because they offer cheaper monthly premiums. But look closer. It’s like a car with fresh tires and a new paint job; it looks good, but check under the hood. That lawn mower engine won’t get you up the climbs of life.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s “Understanding Short-Term Limited Duration Health Insurance,” there are significant dangers in promoting such paper-thin answers to our nation’s health. Be aware.

Richard Boersma, LPC

Steamboat Springs

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