By Marcosa J. Santiago, M.D.
Laconia Daily Sun, May 16, 2017
We all wish better health care costing less.
The ACA (ObamaCare) patch, written by private health insurance and pharmaceutical industries but excluding consumer advocates, gave some benefits, but introduced more complexity to paying for health care. It protected and bolstered private insurance profits, through sale of mandated coverage and penalties for failure to buy. Federal taxpayer subsidies increased the number of the insured, but did not eliminate multi-tiered benefits based on ability to pay, or prevent policies with inadequate coverage.
Without cost-containment provisions, consumers are paying more, directly and through taxes, hindering access and needed medical services. Less expenditure of health care dollars means more profits for insurance and pharmaceutical industry CEOs and stockholders. Regardless, some insurers are leaving insurance exchanges due to insufficient profits.
To repeal and replace ACA, American Health Care Act (AHCA/TrumpCare) assures that some positive components of ACA will remain. But the devil’s in the details of AHCA are even worse than ACA. A few disturbing features are Medicaid reductions, higher premiums for millions of older people not yet Medicare eligible, and those with pre-existing health conditions might be charged higher premiums or denied coverage. More tax benefits for the rich and more expenditure for vulnerable and most needy populations.
Discontinue ineffective life supports like ACA and AHCA to the terminal fragmented healthcare. Abandon politics, embrace the non-political, bipartisan solution – improved Medicare For All. No time like the present!