LETTER: Health care law is about caring

Jan. 24, 2014 @ 04:59 AM

To the Editor:

The Affordable Care Act is about more than just having insurance.

Over the past few decades, wages (when adjusted for inflation) for typical Americans have risen little, if at all, jobs have gone overseas or been replaced by technology, and we've been hit by a great recession. Meanwhile, the cost of living has crept steadily upward.

Increasingly, more and more Americans are finding it difficult to afford vacations, trade cars ... . Some are finding it harder to buy healthy food, to heat their houses or send the kids to college. Things once considered a necessity by most are moving beyond the reach of many ordinary working people. Unfortunately, one of those things is health care.

Approximately 80 percent of Americans have health insurance either through an employer, retiree pension, Tricare, Medicare, etc. About 50 million people, however, are either uninsured, underinsured or paying very high premiums.

The Affordable Care Act supports the belief that everyone — people with pre-existing conditions, students people between jobs, the self-employed, etc. — should have access to healthcare; that one should not have to be wealthy to be healthy; and workers should have access to the same level of healthcare as the boss.

An important benefit of the Affordable Care Act is that we will see a gradual shift in how we view and receive our health care. Emphasis will be placed on preventive care and wellness. We will embrace the idea that our doctor's role is to keep us healthy and well and not [only] to treat us when we're sick or dying. We will see a focus on healthy habits like regular exercise, healthy diets, counseling and support for those who smoke, overeat, use drugs, etc. Annual check-ups, covered at little or no cost, will become routine for everyone. More of our mentally ill will be diagnosed and treated.

It is unfortunate that some, for whatever reasons, continue to put forth half-truths and untruths that feed fear and create suspicion and confusion. It is unfortunate, too, that our state has chosen not to embrace the ACA and to not expand Medicaid. But what would be more unfortunate would be for us to believe the untruths or to adopt the attitude that “it's not my problem.”

For the ACA is about more than insurance. It is about CARING — about ourselves and about each other.

Alfreda Price-Wicker