Letters to the Editor

The Affordable Care Act had helped millions of Americans

According to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (“A better way on health care,” Jan. 22) the ACA is equivalent to the government helping some people buy cars that don’t work while making others buy cars they don’t want. In fact, the ACA has helped tens of millions of U.S. citizens obtain insurance that has made their lives both more secure and healthier. Many of these people were previously denied health insurance because of so-called “pre-existing conditions.” This feature is widely supported by the American public.

When you buy health insurance, you are making a bet. You win the insurance bet if you become ill and incur significant medical expenses. You are hedging against this undesired outcome. The insurer wins the bet if you stay healthy. To force insurers to sell policies to people with pre-existing conditions is forcing them to cover bets they have already lost. How can we do that? The ACA’s solution is to also offer insurers lots of other bets they will almost certainly win, policies sold to young, healthy individuals who might not otherwise buy insurance. Yes, this involves coercion, but so does the pre-existing condition requirement. It is hard to see how you can have one without the other.

Dan Williamson, San Luis Obispo