Pro & Con: Improvements can make new healthcare law less burdensome

December 23, 2013 

John Peschong

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

The topic: Does the Affordable Care Act still need doctoring?

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Obamacare has been a disaster. The government website that was to be used for signing people continues to face a number of problems. Despite President Barack Obama’s promise that Obamacare would allow people to keep their doctor and keep insurance plans they like, millions of individuals and families have been kicked off their plans and forced to buy plans that they don’t need and are more expensive. Premiums are skyrocketing and are putting more pressure on the wallets of working families.

Now we are beginning to learn about the pending calamity that will occur next year when as many as 80 million Americans who get their insurance through their employer could have their coverage canceled because it doesn’t meet the standards set by Washington bureaucrats. This is absurd. If a family feels that their plan is good enough for them, they should be able to keep it. Sadly, there will be millions of stories of people having their insurance canceled and losing their doctor as the Obamacare disaster continues to unfold.

Obama used the story of Jessica Sanford, a single mother from Washington who was now able to afford health insurance thanks to Obamacare. It turned out that she was given the wrong information, and now her insurance is even more expensive than before. Jessica was not the only one who was shocked to see the price — insurance premiums are expected to rise 73 percent here in San Luis Obispo County, according to a Forbes article posted May 30.

Then there is Edie Sundby, the stage-4 gallbladder cancer warrior who now cannot see the same life-saving doctors at Stanford or in San Diego because Obamacare is forcing her health insurance to be canceled.

Despite how out-of-touch this law is and how much it hurts middle-class families and individuals, due to Obama’s unwillingness to repeal the law and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s partisan resistance to compromise, replacing it is not an option right now. We need to work to improve our health care system for families, individuals and businesses throughout America, and here are a few ways we can do that:

• Allow the exchanges to sell less expensive catastrophic plans that cover major expenses but not routine care.

• Expand Health Savings Accounts, or HSAs, which allow people to save money tax-free for use on out-of pocket expenses.

• Allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines to increase the number of options in the marketplace.

• Allow EVERYONE to purchase health insurance with pretax dollars so they own the policy and can keep it if they change jobs.

• Eliminate the new 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices to preserve medical innovation and help American manufacturing.

• Establish state-based high-risk pools to help pay for those with high cost medical care.

• Use tax credits, rather than mandates, to expand health care coverage.

It’s clear that this onesize-fits-all big government approach to “fix” health care is not working. Passing these common-sense measures will make this bad law less burdensome for working families and small businesses until we can fully repeal the law and replace it with something that will truly bring down the cost of health care for everyone and increase access without forcing people off of plans that they like and away from their doctors.

John Allan Peschong served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration and as a senior strategist for the campaigns of President George W. Bush. He is a founding partner of Meridian Pacific Inc., a public relations and affairs company, and serves as chairman of the San Luis Obispo County Republican Party.

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