Letter to the Editor of Star News
by Bill Thomas
I awoke last Thursday to the news that my family and all American families are now more secure. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is constitutional, it is the law of the land.
I work with families that have no insurance, other’s that have insurance but can’t afford the premiums or have pre-existing conditions and are denied coverage.
I work with people that the health insurance industry have failed miserably. 38% of non elderly adults in Valley County have no insurance and many have high deductible health insurance that costly and provide little real health care benefits.
Today the Affordable Care Act:
Allows your children to stay on your insurance plan until they are 26 years old.
• Makes it illegal for insurance companies to deny health care coverage for children with pre-existing conditions.
• Ends lifetime caps in insurance plans that hit our sickest citizens.
• Makes insurance more affordable by requiring 80 to 85 percent of your premiums go to health care services and not profits and overhead for insurance companies. Many people in Idaho will be getting rebates this year because of the law.
• Provides tax credits of up to 35 percent to small businesses to purchase insurance for their employees.
Reduces the donut hole in Part D prescription plan for Medicare recipients
Provides Seniors a free wellness exam yearly and no deductibles for preventive care.
In August private health plans must begin to provide preventive care with no deductibles and in just a year and a half the key part of ACA , the Health Care Exchanges, will be up and running in Idaho.
Starting in January, 2014, The Exchanges will allow you to purchase insurance in a marketplace, on line, that is open and above board. You can compare the costs between multiple insurance plans, including the federal employee plans. Substantial subsidies will be available for people up to 400% of poverty level to make insurance affordable for all. Small businesses will be able to buy health insurance for their employees through the exchanges. Small businesses will get a tax credit of up to 50 percent.
Some people have tried to scare you, claiming that ACA will take away your choice of doctor, but this is not true. Some people say it will increase your taxes but the only individuals taxed will be those who can afford health care but refuse to obtain health care insurance. estimated to be 1% of the population. Please get the facts. Go to www.healthcare.gov and review the benefits of the ACA for you and your family.
ACA will positively affect many people in McCall. As a medical social worker for many years, I have encountered the crisis up close. A small business person who has a serious illness that has to choose between paying the rent or paying the health insurance premium. The head of household worries that if they get too sick and have to quit work, they will be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions. The family that is concerned each day, a member of the family will get sick and they will go bankrupt because they can not afford the health care bills.
The Idaho Legislature has two decisions to make in the next year. One to follow the law and establish an Idaho Health Care Exchange. Secondly, to examine the facts on Medicaid Expansion. What I do know is that half the uninsured in Idaho because of low wages can not afford insurance. Medicaid Expansion is there to meet their needs. Lets look at the real costs of not insuring the poor under Medicaid . I predict at the end of the day, the Idaho Legislature will determine it will be cost effective and morally sound to implement Medicaid Expansion.
The time has come to join Massachusetts where 98% of the people are insured. The time has come for some peace of mind in regards to availability of affordable health care for ourselves and our families. Over 30 million people today are more secure with the Affordable Care Act as law.