Our congressional leaders are haggling over whether or not to repeal the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) passed in 2010. While lacking a reasonable plan of their own, the Republicans and Tea Partiers voting to repeal say they are doing what their constituents want. The latest poll, however, shows only 18% of Americans in favor of repeal, i.e. throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Our health care non-system is abysmal. Considering life expectancy, infant and maternal mortality statistics, and other factors, the World Health Organization ranks the USA 37th in the world, just ahead of Slovenia. The PPACA is far from perfect but at least it does provide some important regulations for the insurance industry. When these changes take place, these companies will no longer be able to discriminate against applicants with pre-existing conditions. Nor will they be able to boot out costly families or decline care to adult children covered by their insured parent(s) to age 26. A vote to repeal would reinstate these egregious policies.
Like the majority of Americans, I feel that further health care insurance and pharmaceutical company reform is needed. To obtain better access and affordability we must include a Public Option or an opportunity to buy into Medicare. Medicare’s operating expenses are about 3% compared with 20-30% for most insurance companies. Pharmaceutical prices must be controlled, so that all Americans can have access to needed medications. Ours is the only industrialized country where insurance companies are allowed to make a profit selling basic health insurance to its citizens.
Howie Wolf, M.D.