ON HEALTH CARE
’ve had a front row seat watching the continue rise in health care costs destroy American businesses ability to keep pace. Those companies who, in good faith, attempt to provide health care to their employees have had to dramatically change their delivery to keep pace. Many have given up and no longer provide health care while others have systematically shifted the cost burden to the employee. The result is less coverage for more out-of-pocket cost to workers whose pay has stagnated for the last decade. Every other cost to sustain a family has risen so people are forced to make unwanted choices on the well being of their families.
Even more heartbreaking are the retirees who worked a lifetime expecting to have full or partial healthcare covered in their golden years and now have been bombarded with out of pocket and premium costs that cut deeply into their fixed income.
All of this while the health care providers and insurance companies make unprecedented profits. All during our economic crisis the health care companies have posted a profit in each year. In 2011 alone, Michigan’s 19 health plans posted their highest total net income ever. This isn’t the fault of doctor’s and nurses, they save lives, it’s a result of layer after layer of unecessary non-medical management and excessive compensation to plan executives.
Passage of the Affordable Health Care Act was timely and necessary as more and more American families fell out of health care coverage. The highest rate of individual bankruptcies is directly related to health care costs. The Act is not perfect but did bring necessary change. Insurance companies no longer are able to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, to charge women more or to drop coverage to those who do get sick. More than 105 million Americans will continue to benefit from the elimination of lifetime limits and the coverage of preventive services without cost sharing. More than six million young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ health care plans that cannot obtain a plan on their own. Seniors will continue to save on prescription drugs as the Part D donut hole closes over the next eight years (five million seniors have already saved more than $3.7 billion on prescription drugs in2010). Preventive care will still be covered free of charge by insurance companies. 33 million more people will be covered by 2022 when the Act is fully implemented.
If all of the great minds in Washington concentrated on finding the deficiencies in the Affordable Care Act and working through to fix the issues rather than pursuing personal and party politics all Americans would reap the benefits of the Act. Instead the Republican House has wasted valuable congressional time, millions of dollars and resource by repeatedly attempting to repeal the Act that has been found lawful by the Supreme Court, with full knowledge that the repeal will fail.