Saying it ‘failed’ doesn’t make it so

I must admit to a rising level of frustration every time I see another proclamation that the Affordable Care Act has “failed.”

A few observations with regard to this phenomenon. First, the ACA has not really even taken full effect. Is it not unfair to announce something has failed before it has even begun?

But, more importantly, people seem to hold the ACA up against some ideal of perfection that the prior health-care delivery system most definitely did not provide. The ACA is, unfortunately, not a perfect system. But it does offer extreme advantages over the old.

Prior to the ACA, millions of families and individuals had to file for bankruptcy when the primary cause was medical expenses. The vast majority of these people thought they had health insurance! Well, they did. But the quality of their coverage was such that it was essentially worthless when actually put to the test. Under the ACA, there are no caps on expenditures and no pre-existing condition exclusions.

How is this a failure?

How is allowing parents to keep their children covered until age 26 a failure?

How is the provision of routine physicals and screening tests at no cost or co-pays a failure?

How is keeping people out the most expensive setting for health-care delivery, the emergency room, and addressing issues before they become “emergent,” a failure?

How is allowing even 30 year olds to be protected from unexpected illness (as if we always expect such things) or accidents (by definition unexpected), in addition to “chronic” maladies at a reasonable cost a failure?

One trip and fall could easily result in medical bills in six-figures and the diagnosis of a serious medical condition could put you into seven-figures within months or years.

The Affordable Care Act protects those covered under its provisions from economic ruin and denial of care for the rest of their lives. There are millions of people that can attest that this was most definitely not the case prior to the ACA.

Please tell me now, how is this a “failure?”

Steve Guinn

Edmonds

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