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Wineke: We're missing the point on Obamacare

By William R. Wineke, Special to Channel 3000
Published On: Oct 24 2013 10:04:29 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 24 2013 10:04:47 PM CDT
Bill Wineke

If the problems facing enrollment in the national health care system has had one good effect it is that Republicans now seem committed to Obamacare.

At least, that’s the way it seems when I hear GOP representatives and senators demanding that the administration fix the website and do it fast.

Given the fact they shut down the federal government for two weeks and risked defaulting on our national debt in order to defund the program, I am a little surprised at how enthusiastic they are about making sure people can sign up for it.

My guess is the access problems will be solved and millions of people who cannot find health insurance will be enrolled. It will be a good thing.

What I don’t understand is why anyone would be against this goal.

Medical care is tremendously expensive. Even if you are a young “invincible” a fall from a bicycle or an accident on the ski slope can result in hospital and doctor bills in the tens of thousands of dollars.

If you are a person working for $10 an hour or so -- and there are lots of those jobs out there -- and your employer doesn’t provide medical insurance, you’re not going to be able to afford it yourself.

If you are a middle-aged man with heart disease and you lose your job because your company goes out of business, you’re going to have a hard time finding a new job and you’re going to have a hard time paying the premiums for your former health policy.

To be sure, we don’t allow people to die on our doorsteps. If you suffer a heart attack and call an ambulance, some hospital will treat you, whether you have money or not.

What our medical providers won’t do is provide screening services that alert you to your cardiac disease before you have the heart attack and what they won’t do is provide you with the medications to treat high blood pressure or lower cholesterol unless you come up with the ability to pay for them.

Obamacare has already started to change all that. Men and women younger than 26 can now remain on their parents’ medical insurance. People with preexisting conditions -- cancer is one -- can find insurance through an Obamacare program. People like me, who take a lot of prescription medications, find their expenses decreased notably.

Obamacare may not be the perfect solution, but it is the solution we’ve got.

I don’t even know how one would go about repealing this program. Insurance companies, hospitals, medical clinics have all spent the last three years gearing up for it, making decisions on the assumption it is here to stay.

To abandon it now would be chaotic.

And wrong.

So, I am happy the Republicans now want the law to work.

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