Healthcare Reform: Know Thine Enemy


The Kaiser Family Foundation has a quick survey that assesses your knowledge of the health reform law known as the Affordable Care Act (and more informally as Obamacare).  Regardless of your opinions of the ACA, you should take the survey to find out how much you know.

After you’ve taken the survey, you might want to read the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis about the results. Despite  two years of national debate since the ACA was passed, many people still have false impressions about what the law requires. Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi’s statement that “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it” was woefully short of the truth.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to score higher on the survey, to approve of the law, and to think they will be better off when the ACA is fully implemented. But the Kaiser Family Foundation points out that there is no causal connection between approval of the law and knowledge of its terms — it could be that knowledge leads to approval, or that approval leads to people learning more about it.
I scored a 10 out of 10 on the quiz, and I disapprove of the law. At least I can claim my disapproval is based on an informed opinion.
The law has some good provisions (e.g., letting children stay on their parent’s plan until age 26), and we do need healthcare reform in this nation, but the ACA is not the appropriate vehicle for change.

Here are some of my complaints about the law:

  • The ACA maintains the burden on employers to subsidize healthcare for employees, without changing the tax-free nature of employers’ obligation in order to equalize employer provided healthcare with that purchased on the outside market. It shouldn’t matter where an individual gets healthcare; the tax impact should be the same.
  • The ACA mandates a level of benefits that many employers and individuals may not want to pay for, which leads to arguments over what should be covered.  Instead, we should let insurers develop their own plans and let those compete in the marketplace.
  • The ACA does little to reduce the cost of healthcare in this country, nor to promote transparency in healthcare pricing by providers. I’d rather see competition among plans and published prices for medical services and products, so individuals can see which plans really provide what type of care they need.

You may agree or disagree with me, but I hope you take the time to become informed.

The Supreme Court’s decision on the ACA (likely to come in June) will not be the final word on healthcare reform in the U.S. We will be discussing healthcare reform for many years, whether the law in its current state is upheld or not. Let’s have the debate on an informed basis.

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