To the editor,
This letter is in response to a letter from Jerry Grell. There were too many statements that I disagree with to address them all. I’ll just look at two statements in his letter.
His letter cites a May 23, 2018, Bloomberg article projecting $685 billion in 2018 for government subsidies for healthcare that he states is all for Obamacare (ACA).
It’s just not true. The article actually stated: $548 billion for Medicaid, Children’s Healthcare Insurance Program and tax write-offs to employers for providing employee health insurance and $82 billion for Medicare-eligible people such as the disabled. The actual amount projected for Obamacare subsidies was $55 billion.
I’m sure he wants to eliminate subsidies for under-age kids and disabled and retired people who are too lazy to get a job or eliminate subsidies for employers, but don’t say the Obamacare subsidies are the full $685 billion. It’s just not true.
He complains Obamacare promised reduced rates and keeping your doctor. Blame the Republicans for destroying the individual mandate and insurance company cost supports. Had those continued, insurance companies would have had revenue to keep those promises.
He says insurance rates under the ACA have doubled or tripled. Although I doubt the rates have increased 100% to 200%, there are reasons for increasing insurance rates. The ACA required insurance that actually had value. Comparing the cost of a worthless insurance policy before the ACA to the cost of a policy that actually covers some healthcare costs is not comparing apples to apples.
The ACA was enacted in 2010. Since then, healthcare expenses have risen 4.3% annually (thebalance.com). In my 49 years owning Benny Machine Company, I always subsidized my employees’ healthcare costs. If the writer is trying to compare what his employer deducted from his paycheck to what the insurance actually cost, it’s just plain wrong.
Under a re-elected Trump, insurance costs will skyrocket. We will lose pre-existing condition protections if his administration’s Supreme Court case succeeds. His budget calls for $1.5 trillion over 10 years in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA.
That money will have to come from somewhere, likely in increased insurance and Medicare premiums.
The issues brought up in Mr. Grell’s letter are real. They need to be discussed with real facts that go beyond headlines and sound bites. This will take real work. Hopefully, our government, political systems and society are up to the task.