Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on the Affordable Care Act: Dec. 29, 2013

Affordable Care Act

What's Mitch want?

In a recent opinion piece Senator Mitch McConnell again stated that he is against Obamacare but was vague about what he's actually against or what he'd do differently. He did say Medicare Part D was a much better health care bill. Maybe from that we can figure out what he's for.

The Medicare Part B law requires Medicare to pay full list price for every drug purchased. Medicare cannot negotiate quantity discounts for billions of dollars of drug purchases.

I guess that means McConnell wants to eliminate the Obamacare panel that identifies best practice medical procedures to standardize them at the lowest cost.

Medicare Part B also calls for very low payroll taxes and beneficiary premiums that only cover 26 percent of the full price of drugs, and has no fees for drug or insurance companies. The other 74 percent, $46.7 billion in 2012, adds to the deficit.

Obamacare calls for full premiums with a sliding scale of credits and subsidies for lower income participants. McConnell must want to do away with that and have an unsustainably low premium for all Obamacare participants, with the balance of the cost charged entirely to the deficit.

Medicare Part B was proposed by a Republican president and passed by a Republican congress that included McConnell, so I guess that's why he thinks it is better.

That still seems odd for someone who claims to be for small government and reducing the deficit, but at least he is taking a position.

Kevin Kline


ACA a bad deal

Even if the well-publicized issues with healthcare.gov are fixed and the website runs as smoothly as President Obama and his groupies dream, it still has no hope of being a good deal for the American people.

Consider Social Security, long hailed by the same people as a huge success. The government takes 12.4 percent of a person's income and promises to provide retirement income. It sounds good until you see real-world numbers. I'll ignore raises and inflation to keep things simple, but the math works out basically the same way.

In 2012, the average houshold income was about $4,170 a month. Over a 45 year career (age 22 to age 67) at that income, Social Security would take almost $280,000 of a worker's money, not counting any interest or investment return. The average Social Security check in 2012 was $1,234 a month. A retiree would have to live another 19 years (to age 86) just to get back the $280,000. In other words, the vast majority of workers would have been better off putting that money in a cookie jar. If a worker had invested that money instead, they'd be "The Rich" by retirement.

In reality, Congress has already spent Social Security's money on other stuff, so no one under 50 is likely to get anywhere near $1,234 a month.

As bad as this sounds, it's the best we can hope for from the Affordable Care Act. And it's taken Congress 77 years to make Social Security work this well.

Dan Ewing


Refreshing approach

The comparison made by Richard W. Bridges between the town marshal tackling the challenge of training a vicious dog to President Obama taking the necessary steps to taming our health care dilemmas throughout the country was a very easily understandable way of looking at the issue.

Bridges states that Obama "has taken the first step, one no one else dared to take," which is incredibly accurate.

The majority of the time people criticize the steps Obama has taken to confront the health care issue rather than commend him for having the courage to take that first step. This article was extremely refreshing in contrast to the usually pessimistic and discouraging articles or statements one so often reads or hears.

This negativity is also evident in the number of times Congress has attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Enough is enough and it is time for those repeals to stop. Something needs to be done with health care and it needs to be done now.

Bridges states "One day, the health care system in this country will be that old dog: gentled and calmed in a way we cannot imagine today. But it will be remembered that it took one man with a vision and strength to start the process, in spite of the scars and wounds the initial steps require."

Only time will tell if the country will turn out to be like that old dog.

Mollie Hamrick and Alyssa Gulde


Sad misinformation

Recently, while at the Beaumont YMCA, I was speaking to an elderly couple about their son and daughter getting health insurance at a much cheaper rate by going to the Kynect web site.

I said that's the great thing about Obamacare and they said Kentucky's health exchange insurance has nothing to do with Obamacare.

It's a sad fact that most Kentuckians don't even know that Kentucky's exchanges are indeed set up through the Affordable Health Care Act or even that Obamacare is the same thing as the Affordable Care Act.

We need much more education for the public to understand that Republicans have done nothing to help Kentuckians get proper health care and have even gone so far as misrepresenting what Obamacare really can do for Kentuckians.

Robert Sharp