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ACA is access to insurance, not care

In the Journal’s business section published on June 20, under a picture of Drew Altman, CEO of Kaiser Family Foundation, the caption reads “Altman: greater access, but at a price.” The article describes a new survey poll on the Affordable Care Act, this time about people who buy individual health insurance with government subsidies to defray some of the cost. The important negative consequences of ACA get lost in financial details, political posturing and magical thinking.

“Greater access” means more people obtaining health insurance, but what Americans need is better access to health care.

That is not happening.

ACA is a massive shift of health care dollars from those who provide health care to bureaucrats who administer, regulate, oversee and, in fact, control our health care.

We The Patients will have more health care bureaucrats. (Whether we have greater access to them is a question.) We The Patients will not have more doctors, nurses and services.

We will not have greater access to health care since ACA cuts our services both directly, by reducing Medicare reimbursements, and indirectly through the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

Thus, We The Patients will not have greater access to what we really want – health and its care.

“At a price” is quite true and is the second part of the falsehood that is the first word in ACA: affordable.

Insurance premiums were unaffordably high before 2010 and, as a direct result of ACA, they are going up higher. The subsidies that blunt the blow for some are the government giving money it is borrowing from the future, yet, even so, we can’t find a doctor or, like our veterans, we wait forever to get in.

Worse, the premiums are not the real sticker shock of ACA.

Just wait until someone buys a Bronze Plan (the cheapest), has a major illness requiring hospitalization and discovers that he or she is on the hook for 40 percent of a $25,000 [hernia repair] or $250,000 [heart surgery] hospital bill!

ACA may give us “greater access,” but to something we don’t really want and “at a price” neither we nor our grandchildren can afford.

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