By Toni Vafi
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 11, 2013
As promises of the Affordable Care Act continue to wither, the delay of the employer mandate is cause for more disappointment. Initially there was promise of average savings of $2,500 per family annually and visions of a public option. Universal coverage was assured and the oft-stated “if you like your employer based insurance, you can keep it” was evidence that we weren’t going socialist. These were a few of the goodies we expected under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
What happened? Gone are the $2,500 savings and the public option. Cost control wasn’t part of the ACA. The public option bothered insurance companies, so it was out. Of 60 million uninsured, the ACA will leave at least 30 million still without coverage, and the employer mandate delay will now surely increase the implementation burden on the exchanges, which might not be ready to go by Oct. 1.
Not to worry. Employers that have been unable to come up with a plan over the past four years are mainly employers of lower wage and temporary workers. These workers might receive subsidized plans on the exchanges. According to the Post-Dispatch (“Delay in health care law raises questions,” July 4), some employers expect to save millions during this one-year delay, millions to be picked up by the taxpayers. Most of the 30 million newly insured will be exchange or Medicaid clients, also to be funded in full or subsidized by the federal government. While I never begrudge the use of federal funds for health care, I do begrudge this elaborate plan giving insurance companies a third of those federal funds to shuffle paper and deny care, while earning huge profits for themselves.
If medical care is to be funded by tax dollars, let’s skip the hogwash and go directly to a single-payer system, which saves billions and provides equitable care for all.