March 25, 2014
By Louis G. Albano, DC 37 Retirees Chair and
Former President of Local 375 DC 37
New York, NY – This is not an attempt to defend the ACA but to provide information on how it is helping millions of people. There are improvements that could make it better, but with the Republicans' total opposition, there is little hope for that now.
President Obama took the Massachusetts health care legislation as the basis for the ACA. Massachusetts' law was originally written by the Heritage Foundation (which was funded by the Koch brothers) and supported by almost all Republicans. This law passed in Mass. with bi-partisan vote and was known as "Romneycare."
What is sad is that President Obama attempted to work in a bi-partisan way by using the Republican Health Care legislation, but once he accepted it, they totally turned against it.
Was there a need to do something about the medical costs in the U.S.? Yes! Medical costs in the U.S. used about 18% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This was almost double what any other country spent and did not cover over 50 million Americans. Many other countries provide health care for all their citizens at 10% of their GDP.
Medicare Care for all would cut U.S. medical costs almost in half. Think what we could do with the billions of dollars saved that we could use to rebuild the infrastructure, provide Head Start programs and so on.
Right now the ACA is providing:
1. Insurance coverage for children up to 26 years of age.
2. Cost cutting measures that have slowed the % increase in medical costs.
A. The Medicare Drug D donut hole will be totally closed by 2020.
B. It has reduced the deficit by billions of dollars.
C. The cuts have added money to the Medicare reserve extending its budget until 2026 without further increases.
3. No longer can pre-conditions keep you from getting health care insurance.
4. As of Oct. 1, 2013, the insurance companies were required to set up exchanges and provide a cost comparison of their programs.
5. Starting in 2014 potential customers must have applied for their insurance by March 31. People will be able to get insurance after that date but with a penalty.
6. Beginning in 2014, the law requires insurance companies to spend 85% of their income on benefits. This means that only 15% can be spent on administrative costs, advertising, etc.
7. Their is no longer a maximum cap. on what you can spend for Medical Care. It is now unlimited.
ACA was made into law in 2010 and will continue to 2030. All costs have been covered to that year. The Congressional Budget Office has projected that ACA will cut the deficit because of procedures in the law which cut medical costs.
By March 31 of this year, we will have a better idea of the success of ACA depending on the numbers of people who have enrolled. The hope was to cover 30 million more people.
Based on the above information, I believe the ACA is providing good value.
Note: Medicare spends less than 3 % for administrative costs and 97% on benefits for the insured.