Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Don't delay Obamacare

Who do John Boehner and the House Republicans think they're fooling with their sham votes last week to wait another year to put the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into effect? They pretend to be indignant that the Obama administration won't require employers to offer health insurance until 2015. And he asserts that if employers get to wait, the rest of us should also. That's the sneakiest false-equivalence argument I've seen in years.

Here's how Mr. Boehner's claim doesn't wash. The law's requirement that we all get health insurance is the key to the whole health-care reform. Without that individual mandate, healthy Americans will be tempted to go without insurance just as so many do now. It's adding those healthy people to the risk pool that's supposed to make it practical for insurers to begin covering the millions of Americans who have been excluded from coverage because of their age or ailments.

He acts like employers are in the same position as the rest of us in regard to the ACA. That's not so at all. Why would I want to wait an extra year to be guaranteed that my age or state of health would not exclude me from health insurance? Why would I want to postpone the day when my wife and I can compare two or more health plans in plain language that allows us to choose what's best for us?

So what about the employers? On that I offer what former insurance executive Wendell Potter wrote on his blog a few days ago and said on Public Radio's "Fresh Air:" Because so many Americans already have health insurance through their jobs, the delay of the employer mandate will affect a relative few individuals. It's not a small number but it is a small share out of the millions of workers and families who stand to gain from the other, broader parts of this complex law.

Let there be no further delay or Republican posturing. The law is needed, it is overdue, and it's going to save lives and suffering. 

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