Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) not felt by everyone

Don Heinzman
ECM Editorial Writer

Joel Myhre of the Fergus Falls Daily Journal has it right.

Most of us have not been interested in the Affordable Health Care Act, (Obamacare), because we personally haven’t felt it.

We aren’t affected because we have health insurance and aren’t all that concerned for the 36 million or so who don’t have it. We are pretty sure the law isn’t going to do anything to our health insurance plan, except insurance premiums are going to go up.  So what’s new?

Since we have health insrurance and no doubtwill have it by 2014, we won’t have to pay a tax (penalty) for not having it.  Only those who don’t have health insurance will pay the tax.

The law, declared constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, has been in effect for a year.

So far, most of us haven’t been denied coverage. We have our same doctors, and the federal government hasn’t told us we can’t have them.

Our medical care hasn’t suffered. We’ve been able to go to our same hospitals and pay the high costs like we’ve always done, knowing they are higher to pay for those who come to hospital emergency wards with problems and no money.

We are paying higher co-pays and in some cases our employers are having us pay more for health insurance plans, but that’s been going on before last year.

So what’s continuing since the law wasn’t struck down?

If you have children with pre-existing health conditions, insurance companies no longer can deny you insurance. The insurance companies no longer can put a cap on how much coverage we can have. If you are a retiree and on Social Security, that doughnut hole, the gap in the Medicare drug coverage charge, is shrinking. You already received a $250 discount and the new law will require drug companies to give a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs, and eventually that doughnut hole will be closed.

Thanks to the new law, your children under 26 can continue to stay on your health insurance plan.

A company with fewer than 50 workers will not have to worry about the mandate. We are told most small businesses have fewer than 50 employees.

And, we’re told if anyone will have trouble buying health insurance in 2014, the state is setting up an exchange for those folks to shop around.

Myhre speaks for a lot of us.  “I don’t doubt the health care bill is important. I’m sure there is some good in it. I’m sure there is some bad in it. But for myself, until it hits my wallet or affects the quality of my health care, feigning interest in it has been  difficult.”

— Don Heinzman is the former editor of the Elk River Star News and a member of the ECM Editorial Board.