To the Editor:
Capt. August wrote about exemptions for some groups to the Affordable Care Act. This is often quoted in the media but simply not true. The Affordable Care Act applies to Congress, GE and the unions. What is taken out of context is a part of the law that applies to companies who have self-funded medical plans or other types of mini-med plans. A one-year extension can be obtained by these companies to allow them time to change from their existing plan to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. A one-year extension is not an exemption from the act. And, Congress has never been exempt. At the time the legislation was passed, a majority of Americans were for the act. Parts of the act go into effect each year until 2020. Deductibles have gone up recently because the part of the Affordable Care Act that requires that 85 percent of the insurance premiums be used for patient care did not go into effect until 2011. The insurance companies were taking advantage of the last chance to raise our rates before they actually have to use the money for our health care.
I would suggest that we start by sifting through the quotes from the media, Internet and other sources, remove the rhetoric and half-truths and start with the facts. Here are a few to start with. seniors are now getting preventative care and lower drug prices. The Affordable Care Act has actually extended the solvency of Medicare by an additional 8 years.
The United States spends more than double, per person, for health care than any other industrialized nation. The quality of health care in the U.S., while excellent in some areas, is ranked by the World Health Organization, Congressional Research Service and Rand Corpora-tion as being in the lower middle of the 34 industrialized nations. The Super Committee for deficit reduction identified health care costs as the single biggest driver of our deficit. The Affordable Care Act is a good start at slowing down the rising costs for health care and improving the quality but we have much further to go.
Capt. August closes his letter mentioning that we will be fighting each other while the negative ads bombard us during the campaign season. I agree that we need to stop the divisiveness.
Candidate for Congress 2012