More pros than cons with Affordable Care Act

To the Editor:

We write to applaud Jeanne Shaheen’s support of the Affordable Health Care Act initially and since it was passed four years ago.

Some TV stations are currently being inundated with ads criticizing her decision, as well as the health care bill itself. While not perfect, the ACA will seriously help the one-sixth of our population previously unable to purchase affordable health insurance. There are pros and cons to the health care law, with the cons mainly related to higher costs to the richest 3 percent of Americans and businesses. There will also be a penalty the first year of $95, or 1 percent of income, for those opting out of buying private health insurance.

The pros are significant.

? New health care benefits, such as no annual or lifetime limits on coverage.

? Coverage for children under a parent’s health insurance up to 26 years of age.

? Quicker FDA approval of generic drugs, which lowers drug costs.

? Protection against gender and disability discrimination.

? Access to preventative and wellness services at no additional cost to consumer.

? Coverage can’t be dropped when sick.

? Pre-existing conditions will be covered.

? Regulation of private insurance company rate structure.

? Cost assistance to people and small businesses (under 25 employees) who need help.

? Drug “doughnut hole” will be covered for Medicare patients.

? Numerous oversight boards to ensure spending and implementation of the law are appropriate.

The ACA is not an insurance plan, such as Medicare where the U.S. government is the insurance provider. The ACA simply regulates private insurance companies to insure fairness in coverage and pricing, just as the Public Utilities Commission regulates rates for private utilities.

In the past, America’s privately owned insurance companies took 30 percent of every health dollar for administrative costs, i.e. high corporate salaries. The ACA stipulates that 80 percent of health care insurance dollars go to providing health care. The insurance companies still stand to earn lots more money because more people will be expected and able to buy health insurance.

Because the New Hampshire Legislature under the conservative Republican influence dithered regarding health care exchanges and defining our state’s application of the law, we have only one private insurance company doing business here.

Next fall, more insurance companies will be added so that more physicians, hospitals and ancillary medical services will be covered.

Our goal as Americans should be to provide affordable, basic health care to all citizens. We’d welcome a serious Republican health care proposal but, alas, none has been proposed in the nearly four years since the ACA’s introduction.

Enough of the negative Jeanne Shaheen/Obamacare ads, let’s work together to make our health care the best in the world!