Letter: Replacing ACA with ‘TrumpCare’ is not our moral obligation

Mar 15, 2017

“Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.” Our President actually said this recently.

Sorry, Mr. President, we all knew. We have always known this, and we are dismayed that you, apparently, did not know this.

Healthcare is incredibly complicated, and as someone who has been in the healthcare industry as an insurance agent, a director of a managed-care program, a clinic manager and a patient, I can attest to that complexity.

I disagree with Leslie Gregg (“We have ‘moral obligation’ to repeal, replace health law”, March 1) on almost every point she makes. Our moral obligation is to provide for those who need our help, not repeal a law that provides coverage to millions.

It’s true that without adequate control, costs were bound to increase. The ACA was not designed to fully contain escalating costs. When you tell an insurance company they have to provide adequate coverage, they are going to do everything they can to pass any rate increases on to consumers. And so they have. Of course, companies cry foul when they pull out of a market: “The marketplace is too restrictive! We’re stifled by regulations!”

Those of us in the industry know the score: companies don’t want to participate in the marketplace because the margins are too low, so they spend their capital on more lucrative programs. It’s business, after all.

Insurance companies tend to be very large and profitable entities. Improving health care doesn’t boil down to ‘personal choice’ or ‘innovation.’ Mrs. Gregg’s concerns accomplish nothing in terms of cost reductions. The real issue of health care is consumer protection in the face of business interests.

The current “repeal and replace” bill in Congress is inferior to the ACA. It’s little more than a repackaging of the ACA using block grants and tax credits, which in this case actually increases costs to consumers. I’m all for improving health care and costs, but you don’t fix health care by giving less money to the states, or scaling down the amount of assistance you’re giving to people who need it.

You can’t fix health care with a magic wand or legislative shuffling of dollars. We need constructive solutions, not watered-down solutions like TrumpCare.

This isn’t about ‘winning’ or ‘delivering’ on a campaign promise. This is, quite literally, about people’s lives.

 

Tony Markey
Mukilteo
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