by Kyle Yarber
Sam Graves says he will "vote to repeal, de-fund and dismantle" the Affordable Care Act. Spoken like a person so out of touch, so privileged, that he has never, in all his life, had to pay for his own health care insurance.
I, on the other hand, do pay for my own insurance, and despite no claims anywhere near my (high) deductible, my monthly premiums are triple the amount I was told they'd be when I applied for the plan two and a half years ago.
Those who claim we can't afford to extend access to health care to everyone fail to recognized that we already overspend. We get a lousy deal in this country. We spend about 17% of GDP on health care, 1.5 to 2 times what any other industrialized country spends, and despite paying that much more, we don't even cover all our citizens, like all those other countries do. If we're supposed to be angry, why aren't we angry about how ripped off we've been for decades?
People claim this is an issue of freedom. How free are you if you're afraid to leave a bad job for fear of losing health care coverage for your family? How free do you feel with the rationed care of an HMO? How free do seniors falling into the prescription drug "donut hole" feel when having to choose between medication or food? 62% of personal bankruptcies are because of medical costs, often people who had insurance but whose bills exceeded their coverage limits. If every working person is only a medical catastrophe away from a lifetime of savings wiped out, how free are you really?
Are there people who seriously claim that healthcare should be treated as a luxury item that only the wealthy should have access to? We're not talking about who gets to wear a Rolex watch or drive a Mercedes Benz. We're talking about something that should be as fundamental as life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
Sam Graves states that this is something "[o]ur Founding Fathers never intended." Again Graves proves that he slept through his U.S. History classes. It was founding father John Adams who, as our second president, first proposed in 1798 a system of national healthcare.
And that Graves describes this plan as "government-run programs" demonstrates that he must have also slept through the reading of the Affordable Care Act too. The insurance is from the private company of your choice, many of whom have lately been posting record profits, and whose profits will continue. So much for the accusation of socialized medicine.
The people who are so opposed to the Affordable Care Act, which parts of it are they against? That there will no longer be any lifetime limits? That people can no longer be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions? That children will be able to remain on their parents' plans until 26? That the prescription drug "donut hole" for seniors will be closed? That there will be an emphasis on preventive care? Or that profits will be capped and excessive premiums returned to consumers? Which of these do they object to? Who can seriously say they'd prefer things return to how they were before?
I have stated many times that the Affordable Care Act, as it is, was not the plan I wanted. Had I been in Congress at the time, I would have worked toward something very different. But this plan, as compromised as it is, was what we got, and the Supreme Court has ruled it - good, bad, or otherwise - Constitutional, including the individual mandate.
If elected, I will not lift a finger to help it be repealed. There's too much in it of vital importance to working people, children, students, seniors, and those who have already suffered health issues. Yes, it's a flawed, compromised plan, but it's what we've got. And instead of wasting time pretending that it can be repealed and replaced (replaced with what?), I'd rather spend my time tweeking it to give it a fair chance to work.