Obamacare rolled out against much opposition. Some people hate it, others love it. Its goal to get all Americans covered by health insurance was a noble one. But let’s face facts, it failed even in its main goal as over 10% of Americans remain uninsured. The insurance exchange plans were also another big failure. Many people are now burdened with plans they cannot afford and those same plans do not cover what the patients need. Coverage for many tests and services is routinely denied while formularies are largely narrowed down to certain generics. We all see the faults that Obamacare brought with its passage but should it be repealed?
I am no fan of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and I witness the havoc its plays on many patients’ lives every day. Many patients are shocked at the high deductibles that come with their new insurance plans. Many forego medical care because they cannot afford these deductibles. Many others do not fill prescriptions that are needed to treat their chronic diseases. The cost of medication, even those covered by insurance, sky-rocketed to the point of unaffordability for many. Yes, a change in the system was, and still is needed. But, the ACA does not seem to be the change that was needed.
However, I also believe it is not wise to just repeal the ACA as certain lawmakers are saying without another plan. Medicine is broken and cannot just be put back together again by throwing laws at it, or taking them away as the case may be. It’s foundation is collapsing and unless we take real action to fortify the baseline, we will all be buried in a pile of healthcare rubble.
Why should the ACA not be repealed?
- We cannot return to the old way of doing business without a major upheaval in the system. Peoples’ lives are at stake and any change should bear that in mind and provide a smooth transition.
- Insurance companies restructured their plans to accommodate the ACA. Many of them are losing money on these plans and some of them can be destroyed financially.
- Patients who bought plans under the exchanges should be able to keep their plans.
- To repeal it without an alternative is just setting it up for disaster. We need a viable alternative. Instead of partisan bickering, we need real discussions addressing the problems in the healthcare system.
Many people debate whether a universal healthcare system is optimal. What they fail to realize is that this is a completely separate topic. Making a struggling, bloated system available to everyone is not an answer. Of course we need all Americans covered by medical insurance. But, not covered by corrupted, unaccountable organizations. We need real coverage to ensure that patients get the medical care that they need without going bankrupt. Additionally, oversight of those supplying health insurance coverage is necessary to avoid the monopolization of our health.
Universal healthcare coverage is another noble goal, but not by mandating a faulty foundation. An in-depth analysis of our system and its faults needs to be undertaken. And we need to wipe out the political agendas that most often drive change.
© 2016, Linda Girgis MD. All rights reserved.