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Deadline looms for responsible citizens to get Affordable Care



Published: Mon, March 24, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

A letter to the editor of The Vindicator from a Poland physician published five months ago headlined “Americans may accept Obamacare just as they did with Medicare” opened the floodgates to a phenomenal 940 — and counting — comments from highly charged and mostly angered and agitated readers.

The letter, which argues that a national program is essential to provide high-quality health care to all citizens at a reasonable cost, serves as a microcosm of the caustic and politically charged debate across the U.S. over the Affordable Care Act.

Today, as the deadline for enrollment in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act looms in seven short days, it’s time to press pause on such scornful debate and press on with maximum participation and sign-up.

IT’S THE LAW

After all, the act, informally known as Obama-care, stands as the law of the land and has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as constitutional. Those eligible to sign up but fail to do so by next Monday will become lawbreakers and subject to penalties, fines and sizable reductions in their income-tax refunds.

But threat of punishment should not be a prime motivator for anyone eligible to take advantage of the myriad benefits the PPACA offers. It’s time to take the Affordable Care Act back to its basics: a much-needed law to reduce health-care costs and improve access to quality medical care for the majority of Americans.

To be sure, the ACA has not been without its problems. The clumsy and clunky rollout of the sign-up website last fall and continued delays and extensions in implementing critical portions of the ACA have embarrassed the Obama administration and given political critics convenient fodder for vitriolic attacks.

But, let’s face it. Many of the attacks have been patently political. Some Republicans have latched on to the president’s signature legislative achievement as a symbol of all they find abhorrent about his presidency. The act may not be the perfect solution to the nation’s critical health-care crisis, but it represents a tangible and viable initiative that can be improved upon with age.

As U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, detailed in a visit to the Valley Center of Eastern Gateway Community College in downtown Youngstown last week, the health law already has protected millions of Ohioans by ending lifetime caps on insurance coverage, covering both children and adults with pre-existing conditions, allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26, offering free preventive care in new private insurance plans and many other assets.

MORE YOUNG PEOPLE NEED TO APPLY

But don’t simply take that Democrat partisan’s word for it. Americans such as 29-year-old Amber Beall of Youngstown, a single mother with an 8-year-old son, says ACA has afforded her peace of mind and relief. After years of living without health insurance, she says she now pays only $55 a month, and after paying her annual $150 deductible, 100 percent of her medical needs are covered.

Beall also emphasized the need for young people to take time this week to sign up: “I hope young people take advantage of the Affordable Care Act and get insurance in the health insurance marketplace,” she implored.

Some young people feel invincible and not needing protection from skyrocketing health- care costs. But they should realize that one short trip to an emergency room can cost on average about $1,500. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 1 in 6 young adults have chronic illnesses and 1 in 2 report difficulties paying medical bills.

The cost savings for young and old alike enrolled in ACA are substantial. Substantial, too, should be cost savings for Americans outside the sphere of Obamacare. Those on private insurance plans should witness cost controls in tax dollars for indigent care and for emergency-room services across the board.

On balance, the ACA represents a strong prescription for lessening the crisis in health-care costs in this country. Responsible eligible citizens should recognize as much and sign up posthaste. Do so today online at healthcare.gov or by telephone at 1-800-318-2596.


Comments

1questionreality(363 comments)posted 9 months ago

"After years of living without health insurance, she says she now pays only $55 a month, and after paying her annual $150 deductible, 100 percent of her medical needs are covered."

More details, please, posthaste. Is she employed? Her income, etc?

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276Ytown(1294 comments)posted 9 months ago

There isn't a plan out there that pays 100% after deductible. If the plans were that generous people would flock to sign up. They'd want to get out of they're employer funded plans to get this wonderful coverage that costs a fraction of what they currently pay in payroll deductions an that reimbursed nearly 100%. The fact is that most of these plans have high deductibles and high coinsurance. If Ms Beal and her son have a low premium it's not because the insurance is affordable, it's because our government will be subsidizing whatever the cost the insurance company decides to charge. We haven't tackled the root of the problem which is the high COST of medical care.

At the end of the day we need to ask the question: how many people did we help with the ACA and how many people did we hurt. More than 5000 people lost coverage under individual plans and that's just the tip of the iceburg for when the extensions run out. Plan costs are higher under the ACA unless subsidized. Benefits are disrupted by limitations of doctor, hospital choices and prescription drugs. Those that were uninsured to begin with are being enrolled in Medicaid which is not the ACA, or they are choosing to remain insured as is the case with young people. Surely had we known that after all this disruption an nearly a trillion dollar cost we could have simply made changes to fix the pre existing problem and expand Medicaid to help the poor in the first place For less!

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3redeye1(4696 comments)posted 9 months ago

If OBAMMYCARE is so GREAT. Why did congress and OBAMMY and BIDEN and their familes opt out of it. Because they know the actual truth, about how its going to SCREW everyone over who belongs to it.

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4eevo(51 comments)posted 8 months, 4 weeks ago

The liar can't drag people out of there homes to work. They tried it in Germany. It didn't work then and it won't work now. Benghazi. Freeloaders. Men are going to marry their dogs.

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5Jerry(517 comments)posted 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Hey eivo.......remember last October when Obama and Democrats dug in their heals and literally shut down the federal government to avoid delaying the implementation of Obamacare??

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676Ytown(1294 comments)posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago

What part of "we don't want Obamacare" don't they understand?

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7cathylukasko(116 comments)posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago

LOVE watching the DEMS tremble as NOV. 2014 approaches. OBAMACARE will FAIL on its own . . . unless Obama unilaterally decides to bail out the insurance companies

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8uptowngirl(117 comments)posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Love the headline, Vindy. If people were responsible we would not need the (UN) Affordable Care Act to begin with. Call it what it is-- a gift for people who did not care enough about their health to get health insurance and just showed up at emergency rooms expecting everyone else to pay for it. The actions of the irresponsible have caused a crisis of epic proportions.

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9lajoci(374 comments)posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks, thanks, and more thanks to the Almighty above us that President Obama was able, finally, to get the Affordable Health Care ACT passed, after years and years and years of messing around by skads of political leaders wrestling the entrenched interests who fought tooth-and-nail to preserve the status quo.

Is the ACA perfect? Not by a long shot! It is not as good as, for example, Medicare, which covers about half to 70% of the critics of the ACA! The disingenuous negativity of the 65+ crowd is especially galling to the rest of us, given THE FACT that the ACA is a step toward securing Medicare for us all!

AND it is precisely because of the high cost of Medicare that the rest of the country, including all age groups, should be folded into the plan.

But our day will come, no matter how much the Republicans scream and whine about "free stuff."

Whine on, republicans!

Your days are numbered!

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10lajoci(374 comments)posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Not gonna happen.

On second thought, care to bet some money on that? How much can you afford to lose?

I say this because I cleaned up in the last election; my Republican FauxNews-watching friends lined up to bet me Obama would lose his re-election bid.

They were as wrong as the delusional Karl Rove was! It was fun watching him blubber and snort through his little delusionally clueless election coverage.

It will be fun as well watching the Faux bubblers trying to explain away their equally delusional predictions about '14.

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1176Ytown(1294 comments)posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago

lajoci: "THE FACT that the ACA is a step toward securing Medicare for us all!"

I'm not sure what you mean by that. Medicare is an entirely different animal. Obamacare is a data hub to share information with 7 other agencies and to provide subsidies to health insurance premiums. Medicare is funded by payroll taxes paid by most employees, employers, and people who are self-employed. Obamacare subsidies will come from robbing the Medicare trust (which by the way is already broke), hidden taxes to all Americans and penalties for not enrolling.

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12lajoci(374 comments)posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Critics of the ACA LO-O-O-O-OVE to harp on their peculiar belief that Medicare is somehow different from other attempted national health insurance plans, and in the case of the ACA, they are, in a sense, partially correct. The ACA was an attempt to move toward a national plan while holding on to the for-profit, private insurance industry. That was the only way it could have been done, given the tenacity of the business-world's resistance to any change what-so-ever.

When seniors, who enjoy the kind of coverage we all should have, complain about the ACA, they are being disingenuous, at best, hypocritical, at worst.

The solution: Medicare for all!

It's the only way to go.

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