Last year, nearly 2 million Americans went without health insurance and, according to your recent editorial (Our View, Sept. 12), Republicans are to blame. While it’s all too easy to blame complex policy failures on one party or another, it isn’t productive and won’t do a thing to help uninsured Americans gain access to affordable health care.

While blaming the decrease in Americans who purchased health insurance on the repeal of the tax penalty, you failed to acknowledge that, for many middle-class families, the Affordable Care Act has proven to be hugely unaffordable.

Under the ACA, the cost of health insurance continues to increase while coverage quality has declined. Because of the extremely high deductibles and out-of-pocket levels on ACA plans, simply having health insurance has not made health care affordable for far too many, and medical bankruptcies have skyrocketed.

While plans for the lowest-income households are subsidized or discounted, many have found themselves on the other side of the “welfare cliff,” paying full price for catastrophic plans that cost as much as a second mortgage and kick in only after extreme costs are incurred.

Sen. Susan Collins voted to stop penalizing families who can’t afford these expensive plans that don’t provide adequate protection because 80 percent of those who paid the tax penalty earned less than $50,000 per year. I’m thankful to her for this vote.

If a system is propped up by forcing people who are struggling to purchase something they can’t afford, is it really working?

Joel Allumbaugh

Pittston

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