10-17-13 Waconia Patriot Letters to the Editor

Writer takes a look at the background of the ACA

To the editor:

I needed to respond to Mr. Polunc’s attack on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the Oct. 10 edition. My assumption is that this is his attempt to justify the attack on our national government and economy by the Tea Party and friends. Before going further I would like to review some history on ACA.
The Republicans proposed the original concept of the current law in the mid 90s in response to the Clinton health care proposals. A similar plan was implemented in Massachusetts under then Governor Mitt Romney. However, Republican support waned for the plan as soon as it was proposed by Obama and the Democrats. I would have more faith in the Republicans attacks on the ACA if they proposed changes to make it better or an alternative. Instead they just want to repeal it so Obama and the Dems get no credit.
For those who think our current system is great, let’s look at some of the facts.
Health care in the U.S. is the most expensive per capita in the world (source: CIA The World Factbook). Even though we pay more, our results are not very good. The U.S. ranks 50th in Life Expectancy right behind Portugal. If we lived in Japan we could expect an additional five years of life in Canada three years. For those who think it is just lifestyle, we rank 49th in infant mortality just ahead of Croatia and behind Greece, and Taiwan. Infant mortality in the U.S. is more than twice that Japan and Sweden. The net is we pay more and get less, not something we should be proud of. Of course if you are wealthy or have great health insurance then health care is not a problem.
While we are at it, let’s talk about the reality of who is paying for whom.
Today if a young worker who does not have health insurance gets seriously sick or injured, and runs up a big tab that they cannot pay, it is the rest of us who pick up the tab. There is much talk about how the nation cannot afford the cost of ACA, but the reality is the nation is already paying that cost. Today the cost of health care is paid by individuals, companies, and the government that collects taxes from individuals and companies. With the ACA the cost of health care will be paid by individuals, companies and the government. Hopefully in the process the total bill will drop.
Today a minority of our elected leaders have closed down the Federal government and are threatening the stability of the nation’s and world economy to win a political victory over the President. They are not proposing to improve our health care just to return to a system that is failing. This is not a question of Republicans against Democrats, but Tea Party and their allies against the nation.

Jim Weygand