Disabled American's Walking a Tightrope – Politicians Have the Saw

Before the Affordable Care Act, I could only receive health insurance through an employer or government health program based on disability (Medicare) or income (Medicaid). I am diabetic and have many other medical concerns. When you call to learn more about insurance or sign up the first thing they ask is: Do you have cancer? Are you diabetic? Are you HIV positive? The ACA prevents insurance companies from denying citizens due to pre-existing conditions or later dropping them when diagnosed with a major illness. Before the bill even children could be denied for pre-existing conditions.

“According to a new analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services, 50 to 129 million (19 to 50 percent of) non-elderly Americans have some type of pre-existing health condition. Up to one in five non-elderly Americans with a pre-existing condition – 25 million individuals – is uninsured.” At Risk: Pre-Existing Conditions Could Affect 1 in 2 Americans www.healthcare.gov/center/reports/preexisting.html

I’m really sick of the spin going on in Washington against the ACA. When the bill passed last year, I thought we had heard the end of it and America was moving forward, catching up with the rest of the Western world in protecting citizen’s pursuit of life. Now that the GOP is in lock step to repeal the health-care law, the news is buzzing with “death panels” “government medical take over”. It isn’t socialized medicine though I’m not sure why there are people afraid of socialized anything. Our police force, fire departments, and public schools are socialized. Government death panels? Nope. The only “death panels” are the insurance personnel who deny care to clients. Who say they won’t pay for life saving procedures or medication.

I was worried that the entire law would be thrown out until I read a Washington Post article.

“House Republicans plan to press forward Wednesday with their effort to repeal the health-care law enacted last year. They have the votes, so the bill’s passage is not in doubt. But the Democrats who control the Senate have no interest in following suit, and President Obama pledged a veto. So this is mostly a symbolic act. But it does provide an opportunity to look back at some of the persistent myths about the legislation.” Debunking common myths about health-care reform by Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/18/AR2011011805379.html

The big push for this symbolic repeal came from fiscal conservatives. Social programs are a major part of the federal budget.

According to the About.com guide to the FY 2011 Federal Mandatory Budgethttp://useconomy.about.com/od/fiscalpolicy/p/Mandatory.htm “Mandatory spending is 56% of total Federal spending. It almost three times as much as the military budget, and 1 1/2 times all discretionary spending.” The largest mandatory spending programs were Social Security and Medicare.

However … “Mandatory spending now includes the TARP program. In FY 2009, the government spent $150 billion to rescue troubled banks. In FY 2010, banks paid back $73 billion. In FY 2011, TARP will pay out $11 billion to small banks. This short-term emergency solution helped avoid a deeper recession.”

Cutting social programs isn’t the way to be fiscally nor morally responsible. Perhaps the government should instead evaluate the fiscal policy of financial institutions and corporations that are “too large to fail”.

For more information about the Affordable Care Act visit www.healthcare.gov/

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