Yet Another Reason To Vote Straight Democratic Ticket
While we don’t hear nearly as much from Republicans about destroying the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) as we used to, make no mistake that destroying the ACA is still at the top of their ‘must do’ list. At a recent Chuck Grassley town hall meeting in Columbus Junction a member of the audience urged congress to pass a bill to defund the ACA on a daily basis. Grassley did not respond.
Republicans in congress generally are no longer talking out loud about ending the ACA. That does not mean they are no longer at war with the ACA and by extension those who get their insurance through the ACA. This year there are around 13 million Americans who get their health care through the exchanges. This does not include others who do not use the exchanges, but would have been denied health care under previous rules who are now able to get insurance because of the ACA. Nor does this include many new Americans now covered by new Medicaid rules.
Yet there still exists a huge gap of people who are not covered by any insurance in this country, a true shame for the richest country on earth.
Plus the whole system of having private insurance companies whose main focus and goal is profit, profit, profit as one of the main substructures of this system that resembles a Rube Goldberg machine could easily lead to collapse. The private insurance companies know this well. They understand that if they pull their substructure from this system the system collapses.
Thus when Aetna announced it would be pulling out of most of the states where it currently offers coverage under the ACA you could hear the structure creaking and see it swaying. Aetna isn’t the first. They are joining United Health and Humana who also announced previous cutbacks. Since the ACA passed there has been major consolidation in the health insurance business and those three are the big players. Therefore when they announce they would be leaving many exchanges the system really creaked.
But for many, the real kick in the ass was the reason Aetna left. While they claimed major losses the truth came to light Tuesday when an internal memo within Aetna came to light thanks to the Huffington Post:
Bertolini responded bluntly. Aetna supported the law’s goal to expand coverage and planned to increase its exchange offerings next year, in the hopes that the exchanges would stabilize as enrollment grew, he wrote.
But if the Justice Department were to block the merger, Bertolini warned, Aetna could no longer sustain the losses from its exchange business, forcing it to sharply change direction:
[I]f the deal were challenged and/or blocked we would need to take immediate actions to mitigate public exchange and ACA small group losses. Specifically, if the DOJ sues to enjoin the transaction, we will immediately take action to reduce our 2017 exchange footprint …. [I]nstead of expanding to 20 states next year, we would reduce our presence to no more than 10 states .… [I]t is very likely that we would need to leave the public exchange business entirely and plan for additional business efficiencies should our deal ultimately be blocked. By contrast, if the deal proceeds without the diverted time and energy associated with litigation, we would explore how to devote a portion of the additional synergies … to supporting even more public exchange coverage over the next few years.
To Obamacare critics, Aetna’s retreat is proof the law is failing. To supporters, it shows the company was using its participation in Obama’s signature domestic policy initiative as a bargaining chip in order to secure approval of a controversial business deal.
Given that due to consolidation in the health insurance industry insurance companies now have an out of proportion determination on whether Americans will be able to access health care or not, it is once more time for access to health care for all Americans to once more come to the forefront as an issue.
It is time that at a minimum a public option become part of the ACA so that insurance companies can not ruin health care for millions on the whim of their CEOs.
A Public Option should be the minimal response to this outrage. Moving into the modern world and creating a single payer health care system like every other major country on this earth has is the right answer.
The only way to make that happen is elect Democrats. If you vote for republican candidates at any level there is a risk that they may be part of a movement to destroy or chip away at the fragile ACA. That includes from the state house to the White House.
If you remember the role Chuck Grassley had in attempting to stop the ACA from ever getting passed it should be hard to vote for him today knowing that destroying the ACA is always on his mind.
Need a reason to vote for Democrats? How does being able to still access health are sound? Think it won’t happen to you. Millions have thought that and been wrong.