Affordable Care Act: Love it or Hate it

There’s been a lot of jargon on the health care reform lately, both supporting and criticizing it. In my reading today, the law’s 6 month anniversary, I came across two blogs expressing very different viewpoints.

The first belongs to Rep. Jim McDermott, who claims that the law was “one of the most important pieces of health care legislation in more than a generation. Six months later and the sky is still there, grandma hasn’t been euthanized, and the dreaded death panels have ceased to materialize.” McDermott says that the hype behind the conspiracy theories was misplaced and the law represents an important and long-overdue change in the world of rising health care costs. He claims that the “misinformation campaign is so rampant that even those fully aware of reform’s benefits to the American people, are instead choosing to downplay their support for fear of an angry electorate.”

McDermott believes that the provisions such as free preventative care will result in higher quality service focused on health care instead of “sick care,” and  defends his position as having been a doctor, patient, and concerned parent.

The second blog opinion I found today was that of Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, who declares the health care reform a curse disguised as a blessing.

Tanner lists many of the more popular provisions of the bill, but highlights the asterisks that come with them. For example, “starting today parents will be able to keep their children on the parents’ insurance plan through age 25. But that doesn’t come for free. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that doing so will cost an estimated $3,380 a year per child. And since employers are balking at picking up the added cost, the parents themselves will have to foot the bill.”

Another example of hidden costs to consumers is seen in the provision that prohibits insurers from imposing lifetime or annual limits on benefits or refuse coverage to children with preexisting conditions. While this looks like a candy coated apple to consumers, Tanner believes that the apple itself is rotting.

More expensive coverage is going to result in higher premiums, of which we’ve already seen an increase of 9% this year, some predicting as much as 20% next year. Tanner points us in the direction of the 1983 New York insurance reforms, where because of increased premiums (as much as $500 per policy), some 500,000 New Yorkers dropped their insurance. Another aspect Tanner believes the President will overlook in his speech today is that 61% of Americans want the law repealed. This is Tanner’s statistic.

Between the two opinions, McDermott seems to generally idealize the reform, calling it the “Patient’s Bill of Rights”, whereas Tanner uses statistics and specific examples to denounce it.

I agree that reform is needed, but I think it’s being handled the wrong way. Putting pressure on employers and insurance providers to practically hand out expensive policies sounds good on paper, but if you flip that paper over you see all the red ink. The money has to come from somewhere in order to provide quality service. If it’s cheap in price, chances are it’s cheap in quality. Just because everyone can afford it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Take McDonald’s for instance.

2 Responses to “Affordable Care Act: Love it or Hate it”
  1. Kirk says:

    This was a much better HCR post, because the problem with the entire debate was that one side used platitudes and big words which make excellent copy and get politicians on TV, the other side used fear without resorting to facts.

    Douglas Adams once said “Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” Its incredibly true in this case. Everywhere socialized health care has been created (predominantly Europe), costs have gone up and quality of care has gone down. Ignoring history is one of the hallmarks of a liberal and in this case American hubris and that hallmark have combined to create a juggernaut we won’t get out from under.

    My favorite aspect of HCR is the notion that preventative care will somehow make an impact. While this is purely anecdotal, I can think of people every day I see on the subway or at work who need to go to the damn doctor. Americans are stubborn people and preventative care sounds good in theory, its impossible to quantify into ‘savings’.

    I hate to sound like your typical straw man Republican, but this is just the latest instance of the Government invading our lives and taking away something that should fall under the realm of personal responsibility.

  2. Jax says:

    Oh the health care bill. Over it, but I wanted to say that your concluding sentence was pretty good.

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