Email letters, December 5,  2013

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

A drilling rig is a beautiful thing to me. For 22+ years, drilling rigs provided me with a steady income, the ability to pay taxes to the government (ok, that may not be such a beautiful thing), they gave me the ability to eat well and healthy, keep warm in my home and have gas in my car. They kept me out of the food banks and soup kitchens, and I was financially able to give to these food banks and soup kitchens to help others.

Yes, a sage grouse is beautiful to look at, but I never met one that gave me all the things I’ve listed above.

Two on-line letters – Dennis Gorsett’s “Obama administration may be manipulating populace”, and Eileen O’Toole’s “Patients, doctors lost control of health care decades ago” – evidence continuing confusion about the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) and create a timely opportunity for clarification.

As Gorsett confirms, the ACA was enacted because some 40+ million Americans lacked affordable access to health care.  The “target” of 9 million refers to those who can obtain coverage through state or federal “exchanges”; the remainder may be eligible for free coverage under Medicaid expansion.  However, because 20 “red” states refuse to accept billions in federal monies to pay for that expansion, millions will remain uninsured.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that average premiums on exchanges – coupled with federal subsidies – are $2500 less than comparable existing policies, which is not
“mathematically impossible” if 40% of the expanded “risk pool” includes younger (18-35) and healthier insureds who actuarially offset those with “pre-existing conditions”.

As both Gorsett and O’Toole observe, considerable confusion arose because of President Obama’s assurances that “if you like your plan, you can keep it”.

That statement was initially true, because all policies in effect on March 23, 2010 were explicitly “grandfathered” by the ACA (some, with minimal “upgrading”), while new policies affording coverage after December 31, 2013, had to comply with the ACA’s minimum standards – including free preventative health care services for women.

What the ACA’s drafters did not anticipate is that cynical insurers would systematically induce policy holders to exchange “grandfathered” policies for “non-grandfathered” ones and would continue marketing new, cheap, non-compliant (“junk”) policies without ever warning consumers that those policies would have to be cancelled as of January 1, 2014. Consequently, millions of trusting insureds received cancellation letters this year.

The ACA was constitutionally enacted using the same legislative “maneuver” (“reconciliation”) as the Bush Tax Cuts.  Meanwhile, beginning with false accusations of “death panels”, Republicans have been “purposely manipulating an ignorant electorate” with misinformation.

Mike Mason, who continually loses the school board races in Delta County, wants to teach ‘American history’ via a book where Rush Limbaugh the radio host pretends to go back in time???  I, for one, am confident I voted correctly—along with the majority of folks that voted this last time in Delta County.

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