To the editor:
I have read the comments about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and I want to put in my two cents worth. My first point is that we are already paying for the uninsured health care. I have just looked at Memorial Hospital’s most recent community benefits reporting form from 2009. This is interesting reading. In 2009, our “little” hospital had operating expenses of $60,153,072. In section 5 of the report “free and discounted services” amounted to $2,055,004, while the funds that Medicaid did not pay for were $2,849,610. The total amount of unreimbursed moneys came to $5,210,683. My calculator tells me this is 8.7 percent of the hospital’s budget. That is a lot of money (43,000 checkups)! I do not believe that the hospital just writes this off; they, like any other business, must make up for this somehow. Stores increase prices to cover shoplifting. Perhaps increased health care costs? I cannot imagine what larger hospitals like Dartmouth Hitchcock or Maine Medical are having to “write off.”
Also, from what I have read, the maximum tax/penalty/assessment for the ACA will be about $700/year for qualified people. That is if you do not have your own insurance coverage (which for me is over $115/week), or have Medicaid or Medicare, in a poverty level and cannot afford ACA, and other mitigating factors. The ACA sounds like a way to spread the costs to all of those who refuse to or cannot afford current insurance plans and will hopefully reduce medical costs. Yes, some bureaucrats will take advantage of the system, but that is another political issue.
I know of many people in the Valley who cannot or will not see a doctor when they are ill or who are paying their monthly payments to pay off their neverending medical debt. Others are filling out multiple forms to get relief from their medical costs. And, yes, I know of some emergency room care patients who cannot or will never pay, but needed help.
And, finally, isn’t there a moral obligation to help our fellow man? So many “religious” people care more for their wallet and the “God” that resides within it than about allowing their neighbors to at least a little bit of health care?
Yes, the ACA is long and complicated. What isn’t in this lawsuit-happy world? But isn’t about time something is done? And why is Obamacare so much worse than Massachusetts’s Romneycare?