Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Political Rant: Republicans Are Dangerous to Your Health

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions of Americans who were previously unable to obtain it, now have healthcare insurance.  This despite the utter lack of support from Republicans, who voted uniformly against it, and who have voted to repeal it more than fifty times.

It turns out that allowing Americans to have access to healthcare is good for us in a number of ways. 

First, and most obvious, is the fact that people who are able to receive treatment for deadly diseases have a better chance of surviving.  Before this law was passed, there were plenty of people who couldn't afford insurance, and lacked access to even the most basic medical services.  Some of those people are now dead.  Others were denied coverage by the insurance companies due to pre-existing conditions or because they had reached their lifetime cap on claims.  The ACA is far from perfect, but it's a huge improvement over what we had.  It gives people a chance to live, when they had no chance before.  And the Republicans are against that.

Second, it lowers the cost of insurance for all of us.  Yes, insurance rates are actually declining, on average, for people who get their insurance from the exchanges.  But beyond that, the increased competition on the overall market has a beneficial impact on the rates for employer-sponsored insurance.  And the Republicans are against that.

Third, it lowers the federal deficit.  The cost of administering the system and providing subsidies under the provisions of the ACA is more than offset by reductions in federal outlays for the cost of healthcare.  This means there is a lower burden on the taxpayer.  That's you.  And the Republicans are against that.

But there's another crucial aspect of this that has not been the topic of much discussion before now.  With the ebola outbreak in Africa rising exponentially, there is a real danger that we will experience additional cases in the US.  What happens when someone comes down with it in one of our southern states (say, Texas) where the Republican governor has refused to expand coverage under ACA, and this person declines to seek medical care because he has no insurance?  The fact is that people who have insurance are much more likely to see a doctor and be properly diagnosed.  Then, steps can be taken to quarantine the patient and contain the outbreak.  But Republicans' refusal to implement the provisions of the ACA places us all at greater risk.

Oh yeah.  You got my vote.

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