Why we need Obamacare

Kentucky Young Democrats will be posting blog posts from members, to showcase their ideas and passion. Posting does not imply endorsement of ideas presented, but rather should emphasize that the Democratic Party is a big tent party and that new ideas are always welcome. 

          Health Care in America is in a state of transition. We have reached a crossroads where we have to make a choice. We can continue to operate under the current system, which is both inefficient and unethical, and further complicate what is already a complex problem, or start to fix the problem now. The republican characterizations of the Affordable Care Act are meant to distract individuals from the sad truth, without making serious modifications to the healthcare system millions of Americans will continue to be at risk everyday for poor health outcomes or financial ruin due to medical expenses. 

            Health Care represents one of the largest and most complicated sectors of our economy, therefore the problems cannot be solved overnight – it will take time to see the results of our efforts. However the Affordable Care Act addresses 3 main issues that will help start the much needed health care transformation: striking down denials based on pre-existing conditions, providing access to coverage for low and middle-income Americans, and classifying preventative health care, as well as mental health care as essential health benefits.

            Denial based on pre-existing conditions is one of the most ugly facets of the current health care industry. Those with pre-existing conditions are inevitably the individuals who need access to care the most. These individuals are likely to end up in a tricky situation where they cannot afford to continue their treatments, thus deciding between life and insolvency. If this provision were allowed to continue the health care industry’s exclusivity will continue as well. However eventually these individuals will need care. Contrary to Mitt Romney’s assertion that any American can go to the Emergency room to receive treatment, one can only receive that care if they are on the verge of death. Further the Republican stance that Health Care modifications will continue to increase our taxes, conflicts with the reality. For this very reason we are already paying for it through indigent care tax levies. Often times the cost of treating this patient in an emergency situation is substantially greater than the costs of providing preventative and non-emergency care to these same individuals if they had access to them.

            It is for this same reason that we need increase health care access to low and middle-income Americans, health care should not act in an exclusionary manner. It is particularly important that we start to dismantle this unethical system and recognize that health care is not a privilege, but a right. The Affordable Care Act will provide more accessibility to these individuals, in the form of insurance exchanges and subsidy’s for the lowest income Americans.  

            In recent years there has been a shift from a focus on pathology to one of preventative care. The Affordable Care Act addresses these changes in thought, by prioritizing preventative care, which in addition to creating better health outcomes saves money, Further, as we learn more about mental health care its connection to physical health is becoming even more apparent. For example, it has been shown that mental wellness is an essential component to the successful management of chronic diseases. Again by classifying preventative and mental health care as essential health benefits the Affordable Care Act is forcing the insurance companies to restructure their system to better benefit community health outcomes and reduced costs.

            The Affordable Care Act will not fix all the problems with the health care system, however it is an essential start. The time to act is now; any further delay will result in an even more broken system. We need to make sure that our voice is heard this election, Obamacare is essential.  

-- Laurie Page is a Kentucky Young Democrat