LETTER: Affordable health care is on the way

Dec. 07, 2013 @ 04:59 AM

To the Editor:

The preventive benefits are the most prominent entities of the Affordable Health Care Act, [namely] annual wellness visits to your local doctor. Americans can now find out about problems with their health before they become catastrophic. Some of the more important services — pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopies, prostate exams and flu vaccinations — are covered without a co-payment. Citizens will not have to go to the hospital emergency room for their health care.

Anyone with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied health care insurance. This part of the act pertains to just about everyone, except those with perfect health, and I don't know of anyone in that category. Insurance companies must publicly justify any rate increase of more than 10 percent — no more huge raises and bonuses for their executives. The act bans insurance companies from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits. 

There is now more precise information about what prescription drugs are covered and their cost. Women have greater access to contraceptives. This brings real economic and emotional relief to millions of women who prior to the act had nowhere to turn. Unplanned pregnancies are a great health risk to women. You may or may not know that contraceptive drugs are used by lots of women for reasons other than birth control.

The act provides new tools for the prevention of Medicare and Medicaid fraud, as well as tools to help incarcerate those cheating us all with bogus health care and billing. These tools have already recovered more than $4 billion from fraudulent providers. In 2010, 217 criminals pleaded guilty, with imprisonment of 146 defendants. 

Those that choose to take risky actions with their health, such as smoking overeating and not exercising, will more than likely have greater health problems. Insurance for those individuals should be a much higher cost than those that take care of themselves. I would like to add that the problem with the act is not the program, but a software problem — which will be fixed, and the website will work.

The cost of health care will decrease as more of the Affordable Health Care Act is put into place in 2014.

The Republican congressmen and senators have had more than six years to come up with their own plan, but have done nothing but try and cancel the act and hurt millions of Americans.

Mark Coggins

Sanford