The Norman Transcript


April 29, 2014

Health care act here to stay

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

Sorry, Republicans. Despite the disastrous roll out, Obamacare is now working. More than eight million people have now signed up for coverage, which the Congressional Budget Office says is enough to ensure the program’s survival.

Polls still show that more people dislike Obamacare than support it. No doubt, some of the naysayers think the program doesn’t go far enough.

Moreover, when questioned about the individual components of the Affordable Care Act, strong majorities favor most of the provisions of this health insurance program.

According to a mid-March Kaiser survey, 80 percent supported the extension of dependent coverage; 79 percent liked the closing of the Medicare prescription “doughnut hole;” and 74 percent favored Medicaid expansion (attn: Gov. Mary Fallin).

The only major provision people don’t like is the individual mandate (requiring individuals without insurance to pay for coverage) at only 35 percent approval.

But the individual mandate is a basic requirement for creating effective universal insurance coverage. Any program that covers everyone must include some provision for compelling people to participate. Such a system cannot be sustained if individuals can avoid paying until they need insurance protection.

We can identify only two ways to cover everyone: 1. require an individual mandate or 2. create a single-payer plan that is tax supported, such as Medicare or a Canadian-style system. Although favored by most progressives, a single-payer plan was considered to be a political nonstarter.

By the way, a single-payer plan is not socialized medicine. It is tax supported, but health care providers are not government employees. Again, think of a Medicare system that covers everyone.

Clearly, Obamacare is not perfect, but polls show that most people want it improved, not repealed.

So, responsible politicians should devote their energy to identifying weaknesses that need fixing, rather than fulminating against a program so closely identified with a president Republicans and conservatives love to hate.



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