When the Supreme Court voted to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, politicians treated the announcement like game seven of the NBA Championships. Yes, health care reform is the current sport on the political playing field. Not to reduce something so important to so many of us as a game, but watching the pundits breakdown the playbook was both fascinating and disappointing.
President Obama immediately acknowledged there would be a lot of discussion about the landmark decision and the politics of “who won and who lost." He went on to say how that discussion misses the point. I tend to agree. While it seems increasingly difficult to do, I wish we could all put politics aside for just a moment. I know it wouldn’t last long but let’s talk about what health care reform means for so many of us.
Not to reduce something so important to so many of us as a game, but watching the pundits breakdown the playbook was both fascinating and disappointing.
I’m personally very excited about the beginnings of a system that could actually make access to health care a reality for more Americans. I have spoken with people who have worked their entire lives, are good tax-paying citizens yet cannot afford health coverage.
I’m a recent small business owner and finding a decent health care plan was like preparing for this year’s NBA Draft. So many options; most overpriced and the available information was often skewed. In fact I had to cancel the first policy I selected because when I received it and read the actual details it was clear I had been hoodwinked. The policy I bought had been misrepresented. And just think dissecting information is what part of what I do for a profession.
My mother is a retired educator and my stepfather retired from NASA. They paid into the system for years and are also good tax-paying Americans. Yet their out of pocket health care costs are about $19,000 a year for premiums and medication. I bring this up to say no matter where you stand politically health care reform is needed and has been needed for decades. The current Affordable Care Act may not be the end all be all but it is a great start.
Soon after the Supreme Court decision was made, politicians hit the airwaves claiming victory and stating their cases. Many Republicans say the Supreme Court virtually handed the 2012 presidential election to Gov. Mitt Romney. Democrats called it a great day for Americans. I was on a White House background briefing call with a senior administration official after the decision was announced who said this bill helps level the playing field for many Americans. This official also said the Obama administration plans to do a better job of informing American about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
Health care reform was a topic I tackled in multiple shows when I was host and senior producer of KPRC's Behind the Headlines. I thought it was important to offer information about the nuts and bolts of the bill as well as the benefits to Americans. Politicians were always divided along party lines. However health care professionals often offered a different more informative perspective. Dr. Clive Fields was one of guests who supported the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Dr. Fields says he votes Republican at least 90 percent of the time. He was involved in helping to craft the bill and said without a doubt it is a good and necessary bill.
No matter where you stand politically health care reform is needed and has been needed for decades. The current Affordable Care Act may not be the end all be all but it is a great start.
So what will it cost Americans? Well, Republicans say it will costs trillions of dollars and be detrimental to the future economy of our country. Democrats say just the opposite and talk about how much money it will save.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) – the agency that provides nonpartisan analysis for the U. S. Congress says the ACA will actually reduce the deficit. I encourage you to read the ACA and the CBO’s analysis of it. It’s all available online and definitely worth taking some time to understand.
As much as I have read and researched about the ACA there are still things I’m learning. I happen to like the fact that beginning in August private insurance companies will start paying $12.8 billion in rebates to Americans for spending too much on administrative costs and bonuses. We’ve heard the sound bites on what it means for those with pre-existing conditions and young adults. I also like the idea of senior citizens saving $600 a year on their medications. It may not sound like much but every little bit helps. Look beyond the political rhetoric and see what the ACA actually means to you and your neighbors.
Kim Davis is a seasoned journalist with nearly two decades of experience covering sports, news and politics in television, radio and print. She’s a talk show host, keynote speaker, media coach, entrepreneur and health and fitness enthusiast. If you have questions or comments for Kim or about “Chalk Talk”, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.