Education Environment Health Care Politics Public Policy Social Issues Taxes  

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

Transparent Statement:
I support Obamacare, although I do have some problems with it.

Ensuring more people have health insurance, and thus access to health care, is definitely a good thing. Without even minimal health care, it is difficult to be a productive member of society. Those without health insurance often ignore minor problems until they end up in the Emergency Room with major problems — unable to pay and costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

Yes, I support the Affordable Care Act even though it is definitely not perfect. I agree that everyone is better off when people get basic health care checkups and free vaccinations. I agree with the notion that insurance companies should not discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, especially when those conditions are not a result of their own choices.

But I actually disagree with the requirement that all plans provide free birth control. I respect those who disagree with the very concept of birth control and do not feel they should be forced to pay for it for their employees. Yes, the insurance companies will still cover this if you opt out — after all, paying for birth control is a lot less expensive for them than paying for pre-natal care, birth and all the associated medical expenses of raising a child. But I do not believe birth control is a benefit that companies must provide by law.

Updated 7/31: I have received a lot of feedback about my opinion on birth control. So I have tried to better explain my reasoning below.

I am NOT against birth control. I have no problem with companies that choose to provide it to their employees and am willing to provide it to my own and State employees. I simply feel it is not crucial to health care coverage when it is not really about keeping you healthy. (I realize there are instances where birth control is a health issue for some women and, in this case, I agree it should be covered.) In a similar manner, I do not believe Viagra should be covered by insurance for most men either. This is not a religious or moral stance -- just a matter of which benefits are so critically important to a person's health that the government should require an insurance company to pay for it.

I would just much rather require insurance companies to cover preventive care, dental, vision, mental health and critical services like surgery and cancer treatments. This is obviously a Federal issue, not State. But even if it were not, I have zero plans to try to change this requirement. It doesn't bother me all that much. But given how much controversy it has created -- including a Supreme Court lawsuit -- I would have been willing to compromise on this one requirement if it were truly a sticking point to the ACA in general. Ironically, insurance companies actually like paying for birth control since it is far cheaper than maternity care, childbirth and child health services.

Moving on...

I am not a total fan of Obamacare though. I was disturbed in the blatantly political maneuvers used to pass it. I was disappointed by the ridiculous financial projections used to justify some of its provisions. And I disagree with the need to cancel many existing health care plans that customers were happy with, but no longer able to keep.

I am not a proponent of universal health care like that used in other countries. While that may be an ideal solution, it is not practical or affordable. Basic health care is a right, but (right or wrong) expensive and unlimited health care will always be a privilege. That may be cruel, but no state (or country) can truly afford otherwise.

For the record, my family's health insurance is provided by my wife's company. We have never had a policy via the Affordable Care Act. However, we have personally benefitted from it due to the provision about pre-existing conditions. Most insurance companies previously required a 2-month (or longer) delay before they would cover any expenses related to a pre-existing condition. That policy was (presumably) in part meant to ensure that someone did not sign up with a pre-existing condition for which they need immediate care, but did not previously have insurance to cover. (Or they just wanted to save money.) Insurance companies are no longer permitted to delay such coverage though. (My daughter was born with hypothyroidism.)

Steve Rubenstein for Governor | Privacy Policy