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Guest Column: Try the ACA before you decide you don’t like it

November 20, 2013

By David Soll

This is in response to Jane Carrell’s letter to the editor, “Obamacare fails to live up to promises” (Oct. 23-29 issue of The Rock River Times).

According to several sources, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) appears to be doing what it is supposed to do (http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/05/29/is-obamacare-too-complicated-to-succeed/obamacare-is-working-in-california) and (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/06/california-is-the-white-houses-proof-that-obamacare-is-working/). It is working because California (the eighth-largest economy on Earth) took the Medicare expansion dollars promised from the ACA. The state also created their own health exchange marketplace and website.

The mention of “mandatory coverage” must speak to the individual mandate, an idea brought forward from the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation back in the 1990s. At the time, they argued the need for health insurance for everyone was tantamount to personal responsibility. I’m not exactly sure what has changed between then and now, but I’ll let your imagination answer that. As for “hefty” $95 fines for those who don’t purchase insurance, this only affects those who can, in fact, afford to purchase insurance but choose not to take personal responsibility. And no, you won’t go to jail, either.

When President Barack Obama (D) said that if you like your health insurance, you can keep it, he wasn’t kidding. I am curious to know where this idea comes from that Obama’s words have become a “comic” line. I have insurance through my employer, no less than all of Congress, their staff, and pretty much any American who has insurance through theirs. Taking the talking point of the right wing here, we are exempt from Obamacare BECAUSE we already have insurance. As for premium percentages paid, I would ask the reader to ask their employer what percentage they paid in premiums before the ACA and now. Further, if anyone makes less than a certain threshold in income, they are undoubtedly eligible for a federal tax subsidy.

No businesses with fewer than 50 employees are affected by the ACA, and any business of any size that is cutting employee hours or firing them altogether on the assumption the ACA is “forcing them” is actually making the heartless decision to do so. These despicable choices have nothing to do with Obamacare. Last year, the owner of Papa John’s complained about the ACA, and it turned out an increase of between 5 and 14 cents per pizza would be all that was needed to cover all his current employees with health insurance. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a fair deal if ever there was one.

As for the government shutdown, I’m not sure how an unelected nor Senate-confirmed senior adviser to the president is responsible for it, but it sure would be interesting to know where that theory comes from.

I wish everyone would take the time to investigate the ACA by going to www.healthcare.gov to see what they are eligible for, before they complain about the law. Like the moral of the green eggs and ham story, you have to try something first before you decide you don’t like it.

David Soll of Loves Park, Ill., is coordinator of the Northern Illinois Progressive Democrats of America.

From the Nov. 20-26, 2013, issue

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