Letter: Why we need the Affordable Care Act | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Why we need the Affordable Care Act

Before the Affordable Care Act (also known as ACA and Obamacare), an insurance company could reject you, charge you more or refuse to pay benefits on pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer. Now, Medicare and CHIP cannot charge more or deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions. If ACA is overturned, as the Republicans are advocating, millions of people will not have a yearly or lifetime financial cap on their health care costs. Many are uninsurable, and more Colorado families could go bankrupt if saddled with mountains of debt from medical bills.

Individuals on these plans include young adults under 26, mom and pop small businesses, students, part timers, retired, unemployed and those not covered by a company health plan. Unless you’re willing to be uninsured, the ACA is a great alternative as there is no “free market” in health care when some can be charged more or denied coverage based on age, sex and health without ACA.

 The ACA covers pregnancy, maternity and newborn care. Women have access to birth control at no cost, which has lowered the abortion rate. ACA also covers children’s vaccines, dental and vision care. Other coverage guarantees with ACA include emergency room visits, labs, hospitalization, surgery and mental health.

In 2014, the insurance companies profit per person per month was $6.64. In 2019, it was $122.83, according to Kaiser Family Foundation.

Some people pay no premiums, and others are buying the equivalent of a new automobile every year. Many paying at the higher end are being forced to curb their local spending which equates to eating out less, buying fewer clothes or sporting goods, limiting home improvements and maintenance. Others are just trying to make ends meet. Less disposable income is available for our local businesses and government because those premiums payments leave this area. Except as noted on healthcare.gov, these large sums of money don’t include actual medical care. That is subject to a deductible or copay.  

The path forward for health care should include spreading out costs, with everyone paying a proportionate share. This path also includes improving care, lowering drug costs, making healthcare less confusing and working toward universal coverage by offering a public option. I will vote Democratic, since they are committed to improving health care/insurance, while Republicans are in the courts to take it away with no replacement. Keep this in mind as you fill out your ballot.

Julie Hagenbuch
Routt County

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