Whether you are celebrating or upset, it is clear that for the moment the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. Americans, liberal and conservative, have significant reservations for numerous different reasons.
For many it is the cost. For those with Medicare, it may be concerns that their benefits will be reduced to meet the health care needs of the uninsured. Others worry that the law will ruin the best health care system in the world. (If only that were true. The health of Americans ranks last among developed countries.)
There is consensus about what most of us favor. Almost universally we believe that young people who are in school or working in jobs without insurance should remain on their parents' insurance until they are 26.
We believe that no one should be denied access to insured care because of the presence of a pre-existing condition. This is a no-brainer. Pre-existing conditions make movement from one job to another difficult.
And for those who lose a job, getting re-employed becomes impossible. Most agree that all children need preventive care and if they become ill, deserve adequate medical treatment.
In Arkansas, the percentage of our residents who are disadvantaged and poor is very high. Many are gainfully employed and hardworking but currently have no access to affordable health care insurance.
These people have a shorter life expectancy, suffer from many chronic diseases, and go to the emergency room too often for minor problems and too late for serious ones that can lead to financial ruin and more.
Paradoxically, being uninsured and ill is very costly. For these reasons, it is fair to say that, no matter our status in life — rich or poor, young or old — as long as we are Americans, being healthy and productive is a good goal. The opposition to the Affordable Care Act boils down to the cost. States are balking at the extra billions they will have to spend on Medicaid. Lobbyists are working to assure that their special interest groups continue to generate current revenue or more from health care and that there be no attempt to reduce the amount paid for any medical services.
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