It is a tribute to the power of right wing propaganda that many in this country believe that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and “Obamacare” are two separate entities, even though they are just different names for the same law. As a consequence, people say they dislike Obamacare but support many of the ACA’s provisions, such as the ban on denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
If the ACA is replaced with the GOP plan just released, not only the 20 million additional people the ACA covers will be hurt. The plan also places programs such as Medicaid and Medicare in danger, with federal funding cuts achieved in part by transferring “block grants” to the states, potentially to provide reduced Medicaid services. Medicare copays and deductibles are projected to increase. Proposed tax-free vouchers to help the poor will not be adequate unless they are generous enough to enable the purchase of decent plans and are indexed for medical inflation. And health savings accounts will only benefit wealthier Americans--how can anyone else afford to save enough to cover the cost of even relatively minor illnesses? Given what we know so far, the proposed legislation would result in loss of coverage for millions and impose financial penalties and decreased coverage for the poor while benefiting the wealthy.
The ACA must be improved, not repealed and replaced. Every other civilized country has implemented a comprehensive health care delivery system. Why can’t we?
Dr. Peter Metcalf