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Kenneth Ehrenthal: Repeal of health-care law would cost dearly

At a time when the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is trying to repeal the new health law, the reasons for needing the law in the first place have been forgotten in the heated partisan debate. So let’s review.

Health care costs were escalating and many were losing their health insurance. Additionally, insurance companies were increasing their profits by finding new ways of denying coverage due to previous conditions, lifetime caps and denied claims. These were the major reasons for the new law.

The Affordable Care Act solves all of the above problems in the long run. The increase in health care costs will slow down and those who could not previously afford insurance will be able to purchase health insurance through exchanges. Already, thanks to the law, insurance companies are no longer allowed to deny children because of pre-existing conditions or drop people when they get sick; young people are now able to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 years old.

The two main arguments Republicans make to support repeal concern the reduction of the subsidy for Medicare Advantage programs and the requirement that all Americans have health insurance. Both arguments are relatively inconsistent with Republican philosophy and based on inaccurate information.

Health care reform actually strengthens Medicare. It will stop wasteful over payments to the Medicare Advantage program, cuts down on fraud and abuse, reduce out-of-pocket costs and provide seniors with free preventive care visits.

As for the so-called “mandate,” those in favor of repeal seem to ignore the fact that health insurance premiums are artificially high to subsidize those who either cannot afford health insurance or choose not to bother. The average American family pays $1,000 extra in premiums every year to cover the uninsured.

This is about taking personal responsibility, a value that Republicans ought to support.

Kenneth Ehrenthal resides in Chesapeake.

augusta free press
augusta free press