Friday, March 7, 2014
Well, here he goes again -- "he" being our endlessly embarrassing governor, Paul LePage, who, on a recent radio rant about the Affordable Care Act, likened the IRS to the Gestapo! This was in reference to the penalty that people who refuse to buy competitively priced health insurance will be expected to pay once the mandate is in force.
Has the man no clue at all? His vitriolic, over-the-top, wacky tirade is really no surprise; however, it yet again shows how amazingly out of touch Maine's chief executive is.
What he and at least some of his tight-fisted, radically conservative followers either do not comprehend or, worse, even care to admit, is how every advanced, well-off country on this planet (except the United States) has a form of universal health care that a) covers everyone; b) is affordable; and c) is seen as a fundamental human right, not just a privilege.
The ultra-conservatives love to paint a "sky-is-falling" scenario about taxes allegedly rising sky high when what they call "Obamacare" kicks in. Are they hopelessly ignorant?
Insurance premiums keep climbing to the point where some companies that provide health insurance to their workers -- or individuals who struggle to buy it on their own -- can no longer afford such coverage.
How many of the critics of "Obamacare" would be satisfied to go bankrupt from crushing medical bills or perhaps not even be able to buy adequate health care if their coverage were no longer there for them?
I pray (yep, I'm a believer) that affordable health care does indeed become a reality for everyone. God bless the U.S. Supreme Court for its recent decision.
I understand that Gov. LePage, who recently wasted taxpayers' money on an unsuccessful challenge to the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court, does not intend to implement the ACA in Maine.
Might I inquire if he has actually read the ACA? Or is this another case of him dumping something he hasn't seen on the opinion of others -- like the mural that celebrated Maine's working past?
The Supreme Court's health care law ruling and Gov. LePage's latest remarks have once again gotten many of us thinking about the new law.
The law was passed exclusively by Democrats to solve two problems: health care that strains the ability of many to pay and lack of insurance coverage for many.
The Democrats believed that this law would provide solutions. It is a big gamble.
First, to hold down expenses, enough people must buy insurance. It is unclear whether the penalty ($695 or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is greater) is enough to accomplish that.
Second, it is conceivable that the expenses involved in implementing the law -- e.g., the insurance exchanges, the Medicaid expansion, the insurance subsidies -- could make it unsustainable, particularly in light of our $15.7 trillion debt.
Other questions yet to be answered are: Will the increased regulation cause fewer people to remain or become doctors? Will the reduction in reimbursements from Medicare significantly erode the quality of care? Will businesses have trouble expanding, given the costs they will have to absorb?
This is an awfully big law to have been enacted by one party. But the Democrats, apparently, were very sure of themselves.
You could argue that we Republicans could have done more from 2003 through 2006, controlling Congress and the White House as we did. That would be fair. But the Democrats pretty much shut the Republicans out in 2009-2010 when the law was being put together and passed.
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