Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Margaret L. Munson
Two days before his first inauguration, President-elect Obama said, “What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that our founders displayed.”
This is the philosophy that will make the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (hereafter, PPACA) work.
The tenacity of health care problems was exemplified by Senator John McCain’s comments in 2000 that “ … the reason why we don’t have a patients’ bill of rights is because the Republican Party is in the pocket of the insurance industry.”
Today, Republicans are realizing the need for a comprehensive insurance plan.
Republican Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona said last year that “with this move (i.e. Medicaid expansion), we will secure a federal revenue stream to cover the costs of the uninsured who already show up in our doctors’ offices and the emergency rooms.”
The PPACA is the way to break this tenacious problem.
Costs could also be lowered by $3.5 billion annually if the Obama appeal to the United States Supreme Court, supported by the American Medical Association, to prevent drug companies from continuing “pay for delay” arrangements is upheld. This arrangement has enabled major pharmaceutical companies to pay smaller generic companies from releasing less expensive versions of drugs so that the larger companies can allegedly recoup research expenses.
The president has shown willingness to create a single deductible that would pay for a cap on total expenses and lessen the need to buy so-called Medi-Gap supplementary insurance.
We, the consumers, can also buy private policies with premium subsidies under PPACA.
And under PPACA, we will no longer be controlled by pre-existing conditions.
Young people trying to pay off college loans and living expenses will not have added to these responsibilities the cost of health care until they turn 26 because they will be covered by their parents’ insurance.
Those of us at the other end of the age spectrum are protected from being charged extremely higher premiums than those paid by younger people.
As a retired medical social worker of 33 years’ experience, I am making a prognosis that benefits will be realized from this act within two years because when people can receive covered care, they will go to private physicians or clinics regularly, leading to a consistent relationship with the provider, which leads to preventive medicine, which leads to early diagnosis of serious medical problems, fewer unnecessary tests, shorter hospital stays and less inappropriate use of emergency departments.
Benjamin Disraeli intelligently observed that “the health of the people is really the foundation upon which all their happiness and all their powers as a state depend.”
Margaret L. Munson, MSW, is on the communications committee for the Nevada County Democrats.
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