It is not as easy as they think
Published 7:03 pm Saturday, January 7, 2017
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker’s column about the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which published in Saturday’s newspaper, would have been laughable were it not so dangerous.
What he wrote about Affordable Care, divisively labeled Obamacare by Republicans who fought every single action put forth by our president for his entire eight years in office, was incredibly skewed at best.
Proud of his legislation, President Obama and his supporters have embraced the Obamacare moniker.
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Wicker, like other Republicans, wants to repeal Obamacare and have been trying steadily since 2010, when it passed in Congress, to do so.
The problem is, Republicans have absolutely no concrete ideas — no plan at all — about how they would replace it. You would think they would have come up with some kind of plan after all these years of battle.
Wicker says Republicans are working to repeal and replace the law, saying that’s near reality.
But it’s not, and he knows it. Republicans have nothing with which to replace the Affordable Care Act.
Wicker in his column claims Obamacare doesn’t work, that the cost of health insurance has become unaffordable with monthly premiums skyrocketing and deductibles in the thousands of dollars.
The truth is, insurance companies began aggressively raising their rates literally years before Affordable Care was enacted in anticipation of the legislation. Obamacare didn’t lead to increased health insurance rates, health insurance companies made that happen. And take a minute to look up the financial statements of your insurance company. None of them have lost money over the Affordable Care Act — far from it.
Now, does the legislation need some updating? Of course, it does. But it certainly doesn’t need to be scrapped, particularly when Republicans haven’t a clue how to replace it.
The fact is, about 16.4 million Americans have access to affordable health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. Before, purchasing health insurance as an individual was out of reach financially. If your employer didn’t offer health insurance and didn’t participate in paying a portion of the premium, you were out of luck.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies cannot deny insurance based on preexisting conditions. Women cannot be charged more for health insurance simply because they are female. And young adults right out of school and entering the workforce can remain on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.
Personally, my health insurance premium through my employer was cut in half when the Affordable Care Act was enacted. Same insurance. Less money. I know others have had different experiences, which is exactly why the law needs to be tweaked.
However, Republicans’ rush to scrap it on day one, simply as a show of force, is ridiculous. And, Wicker and other Republicans know that. That’s why the repeal Wicker brags about won’t actually take place for years. They plan to repeal it, but the effective date of the repeal won’t happen for years, presumably after the next congressional election. Wicker mentions in his column that the “damage inflicted by Obamacare will not be fixed overnight.” He’s setting his supporters up for the next shoe to drop, when they learn the Republican “repeal” is simply symbolic.
Read the fine print, folks. Just like with your personal health care, you need to take charge of the information you use to form your opinions.
Private insurance companies resisted for years the effort to put in place the safeguards that Affordable Care requires.
Americans — each and every one of us — deserve access to affordable health care. Republicans have had years to come up with an alternative. It’s time focus their energies toward making positive change, rather than simply throw flames at others who are doing the work.
Jan Griffey is editor of The Vicksburg Post. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.