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Repealing health care reform

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Posted: 4 pm ET

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives today launched an assault on the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, seeking repeal not modification.

Medicare recipients have already received some benefits from the law, and this move only increases the complexity of retirement planning. Among the changes are the following key improvements.

Partial closing of the the Medicare Part D coverage gap, known as the "doughnut hole." In 2010, individuals in the doughnut hole were eligible to receive a $250 rebate on drug costs. This year, they will receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs, so long as the ACA remains intact.

Expanded preventive care services. The ACA eliminates copays for many Medicare-covered preventive services, including mammograms, colonoscopies and osteoporosis screenings.

Improved access to insurance for people younger than 65. If you are older than 50 and don't get insurance at work, it has been nearly impossible in some states to buy coverage on your own. Under the ACA, those with pre-existing conditions can join their states' high-risk pools, which are mandated by the ACA. Beginning in 2014, people in this category will have access to even more insurance options through plans offered on state-based health exchanges and expanded Medicaid.

Supporters of the ACA says it will save taxpayers money in the long run and reduce the federal budget deficit by controlling health care costs. Those who would repeal the law say the Congressional Budget Office, which calculated these savings, made mistakes and this will soon be an entitlement program that runs amuck.

It seems unlikely that the Republicans will be able to muster enough votes in both houses of Congress to push through repeal -- and personally, I'm glad. Moving toward broader health care coverage seems smarter and better for people approaching or living in retirement than the GOP's dig-in-your-heels commitment to the status quo.

My recent experience with a death in the family showed me Medicare's strength and some of its warts, and it left me with the conviction that no public health care program is ever going to be perfect -- but having one available is extraordinarily important.

Fundamentally, I agree with this point of view from Calvin Bruce, managing editor of Jackson & Coker, a health care research firm, who said: "One can only hope that the impact and benefits of medical technology, drug discoveries and scientific advancements will overshadow any setbacks experienced in implementing health care reform stemming from renewed debate in legislative circles."

In other words, we can't just stand still.

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Jim Cap
February 02, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Read any of Ayn Rand's brilliant novels and you'll understand why this Obamacare stuff is completely wrong.

Listen to Glenn Beck and you'll realize why the government can't ever do anything right. So why then would you let them take over healthcare?

The Republicans would NEVER back an individual mandate to buy private, for-profit health insurance. No way! And don't believe those libs who lie when they tell you that George H.W. Bush was in favor of an individual mandate; and that Bob Dole was for it; and that over 25 Republican senators came out publicly for it, including Charles Grassley. And that it was backed by many Republican governors, including Mitt Romney.

Speaking of Romney, I've never heard him complain about health care bills. It's only liberal whiners who say things like "But my daughter has cancer and the insurance company won't pay for her treatment!" Wimpy little whiner. If he can't afford to PAY for his daughter's treatment then he should work two or three more jobs. Or, he should have thought of that before he had kids.

Why should I have to pay for his bad luck?

What you libs don't realize is that the MAIN purpose of health care is making money for insurance company executives and their investors. Why else would they be in business? They're entitled to it. It helps everyone when they can make money off of people getting sick.

Don't you libs realize that when insurance companies have to pay a claim for someone who is sick, that reduces the value of my insurance company stocks? Don't you Democrats understand that if insurance companies actually pay for medical care---as they claim they will when you take out a policy---that it will reduce my dividends from that investment?

What you libs don't realize is that we have FREEDOM in the USA. I'm free to be rich and so are you. And if you're not, too bad. You're obviously lazy or dumb, otherwise you'd be wealthy. Like me.

So, stop acting like health care for all citizens is some sort of right. It's not. It's a Consumer Item, just like a TV or an iPod, or a new Mercedes. (I have one of those, by the way.)

If you're smart enough and diligent enough to afford a doctor and good health care, you deserve it. If you're in some loser job with poor benefits, or if your insurance company refuses to pay when you actually get sick, you should "man up" and just face the consequences.

Health Care if for people who can afford it! Health Care is an investment and a business.

If you've got the cash, you deserve health care. If you don't, you can go see some witch doctor, or pray, or get a better job.

Just don't come running to me. And if you had the good sense to read Ayn Rand and listen to Glenn Beck, you'd understand all this!

January 26, 2011 at 9:48 am

These comments neglect to account for the fact that the pre-reform system was unsustainable. Is the reform perfect? No. But it is still more financially viable to the country than what we had before. And before you pretend that reform is going to crush us in debt and lead to a rationing of healthcare, remember that most other developed countries have similar systems-- thus there is plenty of evidence that such programs ARE sustainable and do NOT lead to rationing/death panels. As much as people like to say (with no evidence) "we have the best health care in the world," they ignore that actual studies show our life spans are shorter than countries with such programs, and our health care was ranked outside the top 25 in the world. America can do better, and this is a step in the right direction.

January 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Pamela: The difference between the car insurance mandate and the health insurance mandate is simple: You don't have to drive a car, and a lot of people don't. It's a choice. But HCR forces you to buy health insurance simply because you exist. This is one of the arguments being used in lawsuits against this legislation. The other is that it exceeds powers given to Congress under The Commerce clause.

January 20, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Unlike most people who comment on this including you, I have read this bill in its entirety and have been employed in health care for 30 years.
This bill calls for formation of ACOs (accountable care orgainzations) which are basically formation of groups like HMOs that will accept capitated payments. Medicare pays so lousy that many internists and family practice doctors are becoming hospital employees as we speak. My plumber made more money a few weeks ago fixing a leak at my house than a doctor does for saving your life during surgery. Most people have no clue just how pathetically our govt reimburses doctors. I also notice you made no comments about the future with rationing, seeing a nurse or marginal doctor after a 3 month wait. You cannot deny that Democrats frontloaded ten years of taxes to pay for 6 years of benefits. Let's extrapolate that out 20years. What will this really do to our deficit? Democrats fed the CBO BS. They are not going to be able to cut 500 billion out of Medicare, and everyone, including Democrats themselves, know it.
There are better ways of doing this, We need insurance reform to stop abuses, not a massive federal takeover. Part of the problem is that insured people abuse the system, running up costs unnecessarily with expensive drugs, unnecessary treatments, all because a third party is paying, so they don't care. Insurance cos reacted by cherry picking, denying care, screwing doctors for profit. They just need some laws to reign them in. Period.
Last but not least, Democrats have asked for this reaction by passing legislation that affects every man, woman, and child in this country without ONE Republican vote. They ignored many advisers. Most importantly they ignored polls that showed overwhelmingly that they were going against the will of the American people. That is unprecedented,it smacks of tyranny and therefore goes to the core of the American Revolutionary psyche, which we saw re emerge as The Tea Party. SS had Republican support as did Medicare in the 60s. This bill was THE factor in the emergence of the Tea Party, and it is THE reason we saw unprecedented "shellacking" of Demcrats in the midterms, and it is THE reason Obama will be a one termer.

January 19, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Stop the madness. Stop Obamacare now.