Saving the ACA is NOT an Option

Saving the ACA is NOT an Option

By Sherry Eason. Photo from March, 2017 in RIFuture.org.

All citizens deserve Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.Without good health, opportunity is greatly diminished.

I work in the health insurance business, I own a small Health Insurance Agency. My goal when I created my agency, and now more than ever, is to work myself out of a job. I use the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) as a tool to help individuals gain access to Healthcare. My thoughts and opinions, based on experience and research are as follows.

The GOP is primarily concerned with 3 things in relation to Healthcare:

  1. First and foremost the GOP is about deregulation, reducing protections for consumers, in support of free market capitalism. Controlled by libertarians such as the Koch Brothers, the Republicans believe protections restrict free market capitalism.
  2. Reducing the burden of taxes on the ultra wealthy believing the theory that large corporate profits will trickle-down to the workers. The big winners under GOP Health Reform are those households making over $250K, especially households with millions in investment income. This group certainly does not include 98% of us.
  3. Stabilizing the Health Insurance Market. This has no direct correlation to the health of working people.

The Democrats, however, do not wish to acknowledge that the PPACA cannot be saved.

The existing law is the PPACA-Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. All of the Patient Protections must be saved, but the ACA is not a long term solution to the healthcare crisis.

Continuing to preach “ Save the ACA” for the Democrats is really about 3 priorities.

  1. Corporate donor support. The Healthcare Lobby spends 3.5-4 billion dollars yearly defending their turf.
  2. Attempting to save face on the bill passed by Democrats by defending the ACA even as it implodes.
  3. The Obama legacy on Health Reform. The best part of this legacy is the PP-Patient Protection. The rest was and is an ill-conceived compromise to keep corporations happy under the guise of “Market Stabilization”.

The Senate version of the Un-Healthcare bill is called the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). This bill is all about politics and policy and not at all about health CARE for people. The GOP talking points keep mentioning the middle class. Households making more than $250,000 or more a year are not in my definition of the middle class.

In NC, 85% of Individuals who apply for PPACA subsidies do qualify for individually computed tax credits. Most of my clients are self-employed small business owners struggling to make a living. Others are under paid workers working for small businesses. Low- wage  retail workers are also big beneficiaries of ACA subsidies. Those who benefit from the PPACA are authentically working middle class.

Estimates are 1.3 million North Carolinians will lose insurance coverage. NC, by all estimates, will be hit harder than any other state.

Throughout the nation, the CBO -Congressional Budget Office, estimates that 22 million will lose Insurance coverage under the Senate version of healthcare reform, the BCRA.

The ACA was a first step, but it was an ill-conceived compromise developed with healthcare lobbyists at the table. The insurance lobby continues to be a primary player in the creation of Trumpcare. The ACA is too expensive and gives too much power and influence to the insurance carriers. Capitalistic Healthcare is the problem, not the solution.

The below quote from a recent Vox.com article titled “ These are all the people the Senate health care bill will hurt” highlights how this bill also weakens employer coverage. Again this falls under the PP-Patient Protection benefits of the PPACA. Patient Protection is totally lost in the Senate version (BCRA) as it was in the house version (AHCA) American Health Care Act)

“And because the bill (BCRA) substantially weakens regulations for both individual and employer plans, the millions of people who continue to purchase insurance will see the extent of their coverage shrink, and will be forced to pay out of pocket for expensive procedures that would have been covered under previous coverage”

Currently, each state is in charge of its own Medicaid program. The proposed changes to Medicaid funding combined with the waivers of essential benefits will lead to even more drastic and partisan differences between the coverage available in our various states.

Additionally, the new lesser BCRA tax credits will not be sufficient for many currently subsidized and insured working people, those currently covered under Medicaid, the Disabled and younger Seniors to afford a Health insurance plan. To be affordable for the majority, the cost of health insurance must be only a small percentage of income. The BCRA also greatly lowers the level of protection provided by insurance plans. The smaller tax credits combined with lesser insurance benefits will translate to many more uninsured Americans. The CBO estimates 22 million will lose their existing coverage.

112 members of Congress have signed HR 676 for a Single-Payer system in the US…aka Medicare for ALL. The majority of citizens believe Healthcare is a Human Right. This belief is worldwide. This is why every other developed nation has healthcare for all of its citizens. Each of these countries spends less per capita and has better health outcomes than the USA.

Democrats: stop defending the ACA as the only healthcare option. The ACA is not sustainable. We need to transition, with no delay, to Medicare for All. I learned long ago in business and in campaigns, when presenting problem, also present a solution.

The only solution to reform Healthcare is National Improved Medicare for All.

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