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Rockefeller writes: "What Americans got from the Affordable Care Act was a thoughtful law that brings us closer than ever before to the goal of affordable health care for all, while simultaneously lifting from our economy the heavy burden of runaway health costs. The irony here is that the law is built on long-standing bipartisan and Republican ideas ..."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller defends Obamacare. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Sen. Jay Rockefeller defends Obamacare. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)


The Affordable Care Act Will Work

By Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Reader Supported News

03 October 13

 

ot too long ago, virtually everyone - both Democrats and Republicans - agreed that in a country as prosperous as ours, all Americans should have access to a doctor when they're sick as well as the preventive care necessary to help keep them healthy. There was broad consensus that the Emergency Room was by far the most costly place to go for routine care.

While many of us in Congress vigorously disagreed in good faith about the best approaches to achieving that objective - some thought the solution was government-based and others wanted to rely on purely private approaches - we always seemed to be working toward the same goal of making health-care coverage accessible for every American.

Today, however, it is painfully clear that Republicans in Congress no longer share this goal. In fact, they are fighting tooth and nail to prevent families from obtaining affordable health-care coverage, even though the law includes most of the private-based model they had sought for decades.

Four years ago, we had a great debate over the shape of health-care reform - and some ideas won out, while others did not. Such is the nature of democracy and the democratic process. It was not the bill I would have written line for line, but I was proud to support it.

What Americans got from the Affordable Care Act was a thoughtful law that brings us closer than ever before to the goal of affordable health care for all, while simultaneously lifting from our economy the heavy burden of runaway health costs.

The irony here is that the law is built on long-standing bipartisan and Republican ideas - ideas we've talked about for years - and it is already starting to work. It's changing the way we spend our money on health care. In Medicare, for example, seniors now get annual physicals and key preventive screenings, and the coverage gap seniors were facing with their medicines is gone, all while giving the Medicare Trust Fund another 10 years of funding.

When the new insurance plans begin to kick in as soon as January 2014, everyone who is enrolled will get real health care, not some policy that you pay for month after month, only to discover it doesn't cover you when you need it. Your plan is going to cover a hospital stay, provide access to a specialist when you need one, medicine to keep your high blood pressure at bay, and the mental health services critical to treating an addiction.

The law cracks down on the worst insurance industry abuses. The law makes these companies spend their money on you - they must spend at least 80 percent of the premiums you pay on actual health care rather than on fancy buildings or executive bonuses.

The law covers children, even with pre-existing conditions. No longer are you going to hit roadblocks when you try to get coverage for your child who has a long-standing illness or injury. And starting on Jan. 1, 2014, the same will be true for Americans of all ages. The days of being kicked off your insurance plan for being sick are going to be over.

I want to be clear - you can't transform a health-care system, especially one that's as inefficient as ours, in an instant. But I'm confident this is the path forward, and, as legislators, we've got a responsibility to make the law work the best it can for the well-being of the American people.

West Virginia's Health Insurance Marketplace is just opening, and people will have six full months to explore what options are available and sign up. These Marketplace policies aren't just about patching you up when you are sick. In fact, they are all about keeping you from getting sick in the first place. The age of having to choose between food and medicine is on the way out - just like the House Republicans' cynical attempts to panic millions of Americans so they won't seek out the coverage that's available to them.

We are, for the first time in our nation's history, so close to making the dream of affordable health care a reality.

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+9 # Barbara K 2013-10-03 09:25
I believe the ACA will work. Maybe not perfect now, but once we have more Dems in office, we can make it better. Can't count on the Rs to do anything to make anything at all better. They think their job is to destroy the government and the country. Well, if they do that, their jobs will be gone, won't they? They won't be needed. Let those who don't like our government go to Syria or some other country without a government, and it may be more to their liking. We have waited generations for this health care and I hope we work hard to keep it. The nutjobs out there are the ones who game the system and use Emergency rooms, and that causes the prices to go up for everyone. They are the health enemy, not the ACA.

..
 
 
+10 # jwb110 2013-10-03 10:02
Rockefeller Republicans have always been an interesting bunch.
You Go, Jay!
 
 
0 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2013-10-05 15:31
The reason Jay Rockefeller makes democratic sense here is because he's a Democrat.
 
 
+4 # politicaleconomist 2013-10-03 10:47
A lot of wishful thinking here, beginning with the 80% figure which is sure to be fudged as the insurance corporations which seem to own Obamacare are already at work on including "evaluations of care" (schemes to deny care) in the 80%. Also not included in the 80% is the unnecessary bureaucracy on the other side--in hospitals, doctors' offices, etc.

When I say that insurance companies own Obamacare, I am just looking at the evidence: the Obama administration has already caved on Medicare Advantage--whic h is allowed to suck money from Medicare in direct contradiction to Obama's promises.

Until the US provides needed care for everyone without co-pays and premiums (an improved Medicare for all), the corporatized mess we now have will continue with health care decisions based n profit rather than need.
 
 
+8 # fredboy 2013-10-03 15:15
Thanks to Senator Rockefeller and all others who care about the health and lives of others.

Met a nice couple from the UK a few years ago on the beach in Naples, FL. They loved the beach, the water, the sunset, and the people they had met, so I asked if they had ever considered moving to the U.S.

"Oh no," the man replied, "we could never live in a nation that did not care if others, particularly the poor, die. That just wouldn't be right."

So glad we are solving this problem, despite the GOP's wailing.
 
 
+4 # RMDC 2013-10-04 06:43
Thanks. I agree with this. I would have preferred Medicare of all or a real "public" healthcare option. But the ACA is a start. And it will help many people get healthcare who otherwise would not be able to buy it or afford it.

The republicans really are against Obama. They want to make anything he does fail, thinking that voters will choose a republican next election. They are very likely wrong. Too many people see them as against people and for corporations. their base gets smaller and smaller, limited only to the hardcore teapartiers. Good bye republicans. You are dumping yourselves on the dustbin of history.
 

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