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 We all see the faults that Obamacare brought with its passage but should it be repealed?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Why should the ACA not be repealed?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.

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3 thoughts on “Should Obamacare Be Repealed?

  1. Some important points were made with “Should Obamacare Be Repealed” that are valid. Let me first say that I am neither a physician nor a spokesperson for any particular interest group. I am foremost a patient and my comments are from a patient perspective. However, I have spoken to a number of physicians to get their take on how effective Obamacare has been and the response has been mixed at best. I have heard stories of individuals that prior to Obamacare had plans they were comfortable with and could afford. These were plans that didn’t meet the standards imposed by Obamacare so they had to switch to plans that qualified. My understanding is that a qualified plan under Obamacare has to include certain coverage, for example, mental health, just to name one, as well as others, that in many cases are not required by a large number of individuals. If that is factually correct, it is bad because it clearly makes it more expensive for the insurer and that increased cost will be passed on to the patient. In terms of insurers I have no sympathy for most of them; their goal is not to provide healthcare but to make a profit. That profit is made by denying someone needed care or limiting the extent of care they can get under a given plan. I don’t hear any of our presidential contenders speaking about our broken healthcare system. And frankly, the Obama administration stepped back of actually coming out with a single-payer plan. Instead we still have insurance companies – for profit companies – regulating what should be an unregulated area. The other part of the problem is special-interests in the drug and medical community that has a vested interest in keeping – and constantly increased – the cost of drugs and medical service. We need to have a study done by an independent and impartial body as to 1) why are medical services in the US so costly as compared to other industrial countries, 2) why are we here in the US paying the highest cost for drugs when other countries have much more affordable price? And this is crucial : 3) why arent’t we holding our elected officials responsible for much of this in view of the fact that it is our congress that legislates laws that we have to live under? For example, it was made illegal for Medicate to negotiate drugs prices – what kind of absurdity is that? Of course the only answer is greed, plain and simple. As senator Bernie Sanders has been saying, we need a political revolution and that revolution must include a reform of not just law enforcement, but a complete review, analysis, and rebuilding of how we provide health care in this country. If you are a doctor then you should be telling this to your patients and also telling them to yell bloody murder to their representatives. Instead of marches in the streets for a one or two cents increase in soda pop or plastic bags at the supermarket, people should be up in arms about the cost of their medical coverage, or lack thereof. What has the AMA and other professional medical organizations done that addresses these issues – unless I’m mistaken, not much I’m afraid. And I would probably not be too far off to say that such organizations have a vested interest in the status-quo. If you’re a senior citizen and a member of AAFP ask them what have they done other than pointing out the problems as they are so fond of doing. Where’s accountability? Unless ordinary people start a “revolution” in healthcare I’m afraid things will continue as they are and as we all know, the law of Entropy means things will get worse, not better, unless there is a ground-swell from people.

    1. I absolutely agree with you. And no, our medical societies have not been very effective in this regards and yes there needs to be accountability of lawmakers, these medical organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and third party insurance companies. In my 3rd book, “The Healthcare Apocalypse”, I addressed many of the same issues you raise. And yes, patients need to be involved and they need to take up arms. There needs to be a revolution.

    2. “Instead of marches in the streets for a one or two cents increase in soda pop or plastic bags at the supermarket, people should be up in arms about the cost of their medical coverage, or lack thereof.”

      I agree with most of what you said except for the above statement. Taking a cheap shot against one or more noble efforts in order to advance yours doesn’t cut it with me. Soft drinks loaded with sugar and plastic bags are important public health and environmental issues that should also be addressed.

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