by Len Kirschner, MD, MPH
Dear Editor, The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) became law almost seven years ago in March, 2010. The battles for and against the law have continued since Day #1. There have been many ups and downs. Trips to the Supreme Court, the initial failure of Healthcare.gov and the rancorous rhetoric in the 2016 Presidential campaign have poisoned the debate.
The positives are impressive. We now have the lowest number of people without health insurance in the history of this country. Close to 200,000 Arizonans have coverage under the Exchange and over 700,000 have received coverage under our Medicaid program better known as AHCCCS.
In Washington the debate is raging about “Repeal and Replace” with no obvious resolution to the issue. A total repeal would be damaging to Arizona and a huge hit to the state budget. Hundreds of thousands of people would lose coverage and the entire population would be impacted. Much of the debate centers on the Exchange but Medicare would also be impacted. Closing the prescription drug “doughnut hole” would be canceled and the million Arizonans on Medicare would see costs increase. Hospitals would see a rise in uncompensated care and emergency department use would increase.
The House of Representatives has voted 60 times to repeal Obamacare. It was symbolic since the bill was going nowhere. Now they have the political strength to act and truly repeal Obamacare. They look like the dog who kept chasing the car and finally caught it. What do they do now?
Change is coming and the new system will be called Trumpcare. Let the arguments begin.
Len has done so much in the healthcare space its impossible to do it justice in a simple footer. Highlights include being State President of AARP of Arizona, the former Medicaid Director for Arizona, and 22 years of active duty in the United States Air Force. He is also a physician and regular on the Medicaid conference circuit. To learn more about Len, check out this bio and this bio.
This article originally appeared in a local newspaper. Reprinted with kind permission from the author.