There are plenty of good things about the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. However, recent news reports on premium increases reflect an important, incorrect assumption. Unrealistically low initial premiums were based on healthy young people entering the insurance pool. That didn’t happen to the extent predicted. Older and sicker patients were the ones who rushed to get coverage, most with subsidies for their premiums. Young people are electing to pay a fine and not have health coverage. I can tell you from years working in a Level 1 trauma center that most young people with serious accidents received free care, subsidized by “system.” Those patients had no insurance and no assets.
In the Washington Post, Ezekiel Emmanuel MD, who has worked for years in health care policy, provides a very balanced, fact-based, explanation of the current status of the Affordable Care Act. You won’t get this kind of information in Republican talking points.
The unspoken problem is that a major change in how healthcare is financed throughout our country will require regular “care and feeding”, as experience grows with the policies and programs within this complex legislation. Much of the news is good, in innovation is reducing care costs in many areas. Millions more Americans who could not afford healthcare insurance now have it, and those with pre-existing conditions can actually buy insurance policies. However, the things that need fixing have received no attention from Congress for the last six years, and depending on the outcome of this election, may not receive corrective action because of partisan gridlock. There is no repeal without a replace, and there has been no plausible replacement proposal offered by the Republican legislators.
Let us all hope and pray that we can elect legislators who will actually negotiate and compromise for the benefit of we the people and address the many needs we have for the economy, health care, infrastructure, national security and on and on.