Rejecting Reform Would Hurt Americans; Health Care; Repealing the Affordable Care Act Would Mean People Would Remain at the Mercy of Insurance Companies

By Meinell, Dave | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), July 11, 2012 | Go to article overview

Rejecting Reform Would Hurt Americans; Health Care; Repealing the Affordable Care Act Would Mean People Would Remain at the Mercy of Insurance Companies


Meinell, Dave, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The recent Supreme Court ruling on the health reform law gave the green light to helping children, workers and retirees get affordable health care. Americans of all ages now can live more securely, knowing that their health and well-being are much less tied to the profit margins and self-interests of the big insurance companies.

Of all the lies and confusion that still surround the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the greatest is that it is bad for seniors. This is just plain false.

The truth is that the new law makes it easier for millions of retirees to afford to see a doctor and fill a prescription. The 3.6 million American seniors, more than 78,000 in Missouri, with the highest drug costs already have saved an average of $600 on their prescriptions. Thirty-two million seniors, more than 729,000 in our state, have received free life-saving tests for chronic diseases. The new law strengthens the Medicare Trust Fund by eliminating taxpayer over-payments to insurance companies that provide some Medicare benefits.

But even though the highest court in the land has ruled in favor of the law, its opponents have not given up the fight. A repeal vote in the U.S. House is set for today. The effort to repeal this law is being fueled by big insurers and other corporate interests that long have profited at our expense. They are targeting seniors - the highest turnout voting bloc - with scare tactics and misinformation. The next time your local politician talks repeal, ask him what exactly he wants to take from us. The lower prescription drug costs? Or the free annual exams? The screenings for diabetes and cancer?

House Republicans and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have vowed to repeal the law and, with it, these new benefits for seniors. They also would replace traditional Medicare with a voucher program. Under this plan, seniors would receive a voucher, or coupon, to purchase coverage in the expensive, unfair private insurance market. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that within the first seven years of operating such a system, new Medicare recipients would pay an additional $1,200 a year for coverage, a figure that rises to $6,000 a year by mid- century. …

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