Saturday, March 29, 2014

More of us now have health insurance. That ought to be the ACA bottom-line!

We’re in the final days during which people can take advantage of the Affordable Care Act to try to sign themselves up for a health insurance policy, so as to guarantee that they are in compliance with federal laws requiring them to have some form of medical coverage.

OBAMA: Blame? Or praise!
The ACA that is a key part of Barack Obama’s desire for a presidential legacy requires people to be signed up for a health insurance policy by Monday – although the ones who literally waited until this final weekend before  trying to sign up will not have policies take effect until May 1.

OF COURSE, THE focus that some political people want to put on this is all negative. Either because they don’t want Obama to have anything in the way of public policy he could claim as a success.

Or because they really are clueless enough to believe that all those millions of people in this country who were going without health insurance were doing so because they chose to do so – and NOT because the insurance bureaucracy was such a mess that it was too complicated for many to get insurance.

Yes, the truth is that there are those people who would prefer to ignore the problem of so many millions going without insurance when they get sick – ignoring the fact that they wind up becoming a burden that the rest of us wind up having to pay for.

So when I read the reports indicating that some 6 million people who previously had no health insurance now have something resembling an insurance policy for when they become ill, I can’t help but be impressed.

THAT NUMBER MAY well be responsible for the assorted polls of recent weeks that show the total number of people opposed to Obama’s health care reform measures is on the decline (a Kaiser Foundation poll showed the gap between those who hate the idea and those who back it falling from 16 percent to 8 percent in the past two months).

Although the years of rancid rhetoric about the issue by Republican political operatives interested in doing the bidding of conservative ideologues have taken a toll.

Will this sign someday be as despicable ...
There are still many people who want to believe it is a sordid, un-American plot at stake to try to get insurance coverage for people so that a hospital stay when they become seriously ill does not bankrupt them.

Yes, we all heard those stories back in November during the early days of the sign-up period when there were assorted computer glitches that complicated the process.

AS A PERSON who was lacking a valid health insurance policy (in recent years, I've worked for companies that didn't want to provide such a benefit to me), I found that when I finally got around to using the websites put together by Illinois government officials to guide people through the process, they seemed to work very well.

... as this leaflet?
It took me about 45 minutes in all, but when I was completed I received notice that I was signed up for an insurance policy (and even got help in covering about 40 percent of its monthly cost).

I’m sure it helps that I knew off the top of my head all of the personal data that I had to provide, and that I don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions (at least none that I’m aware of). But it worked.

I will feel sorry, however, for those people who waited until the final days (literally, this weekend and Monday) to try to sign up. They may create a backlog on the Internet that causes some delays.

ALTHOUGH HOW SORRY should we feel for someone who waited for months before finally trying to do something? I don’t think we feel much compassion for someone who tries to file their income tax returns on April 16?

So what is going to become of this issue?

I know fully well there are Republican political operatives who are not only convinced, but also are counting on, displeasure among people with health care reform to cause so much anger against Obama that they take it out on him by voting for Republican political people for Congress.

There are those who tell you they are sure the GOP will regain control of the Senate and keep the House of Representatives – which would create such a hostile environment for Obama’s last two years as president. They WILL vote to repeal health care reform – forcing Obama to have to veto their effort in order to maintain it.

BUT WHAT HAPPENS if, despite all their years of griping, it winds up that people with insurance now no longer encounter problems when they become ill. What happens if the rancid rhetoric turns out to be cheap talk?!

I’m sure some will continue to let their partisanship get the best of them. But as for the real majority of our society, maybe this becomes a non-issue.

And the fact that some people were so desperately determined to oppose the idea of people having health insurance will become yet another point that they, and their descendants, wind up having to apologize for in future decades.


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