Saturday, November 16, 2013


One of several mistakes in making the Affordable Health Care Act or “Obamacare” law was that even now too few people are informed of its details. In commenting on it we can only speak of what we know or believe we know. To my knowledge this law by itself has not and cannot order the cancellation of a single policy. Only the insurance companies and policy holders can do this. Sub-par policies in existence before the law was passed have been grandfathered while policies written in the three years since, including those now mandated by ACA, must meet minimum standards. This is the cause of many of the cancellations now making news. Has the government set unreasonably high qualifications? This is a question that might be raised by the insurance companies. Their silence on this subject should be noted.
A typical right wing response to the issue would be to invoke the free market as a guide to what consumers should get for their money. But there is another consideration here. The cheaper the policy the less the coverage, with considerably higher deductibles and more exceptions for customers and ailments. This may be all that poorer people can afford yet they are the ones most vulnerable to these limits to their coverage. Those who need comprehensive coverage the most can afford it the least.
The per capita cost of our health care is by far the world’s highest yet the results are worse than nations that provide universal health care. The discrepancy is that our national health care doesn’t begin until a person reaches the age of sixty five. A lot of people die before that age and many more develop conditions that preventive medicine would have cured or lessened had they been treated before becoming eligible for government sponsored health care. It is common sense that the cost of treating Medicare beneficiaries would be considerably less had their conditions had been tended to earlier.
Unmitigated self-interest is just that. I can think of no part of our complex society in which it is more reprehensible than caring for the sick.  

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