Health Care

The U. S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was well reasoned and carefully considered.  With the Court upholding the constitutionality of the act known as “Obamacare,” the implementation of the law will continue to proceed.  Some of the health care law will be a “work in progress,” as various cost control and efficiency measures are refined and improved.

Three positive things that stand out about the health care law:

1. The near universal health care coverage it will provide to people.  It will require coverage of persons with pre-existing conditions and of children until age 26 under their parents’ plan.

2. The law keeps health care in the private sector with private insurers and providers, rather than making the system a single-payor government provided system.

3.  It emphasizes personal responsibility.  Whether you call the fee paid by those who choose not to purchase health insurance a ”penalty” or a “tax,” relatively few people will actually pay it.  Most people will purchase insurance instead.  The individual mandate assures that people take personal responsibility to obtain their own health insurance coverage.  The majority of people will be insured, rather than remaining uninsured until they get sick or injured and then going to a hospital emergency room, and thereby increasing the cost to the rest of us as fees for health care are increased to cover care for the uninsured.

The greatest irony of the health care law:  it was a Republican idea!  The Republicans created the idea in 1992 in response to Bill Clinton’s health care initiative.  Robert Dole and Newt Gingrich, among others, supported it.  Republican Mitt Romney actually implemented the plan in Massachusetts, so far successfully.

As economist Paul Krugman recently noted, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the “coverage provisions” or government subsidies required to make health insurance affordable for all citizens are approximately one-third the cost of the tax cuts Mitt Romney proposes over the same ten year period.  Governing truly is a matter of setting the right priorities!

I support the Affordable Care Act and its implementation.