Op-Ed: Marshall says promises kept on the Affordable Care Act
(Hutchinson News: Marshall Op-Ed - May 4, 2017):
Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, there have been few moments that my career as a physician has not been impacted. I’ve seen it drive up premiums and deductibles, decrease reimbursements to Kansas hospitals for Medicare patients, and turn nurses and doctors into data- entry professionals.
I committed to not sitting idly by while the ACA bankrupts America’s health care system. Kansans sent me to fix health care. This is the time to act, and the time to show the American public that this GOP Congress and White House can govern.
Before going any further, I want to make clear that this bill protects those with preexisting conditions. Under this plan, insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, banned from rescinding coverage based on a pre-existing condition, and prevented from raising premiums on individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage.
So not only do we keep coverage for pre-existing conditions as a federal standard, but mandate that the only way a state can get a so-called “waiver” is to seek approval, and demonstrate that they can provide better coverage for patients. The requirement is that a state must have a risk-sharing program in place, and explain how they have a way of reducing average premiums, increasing enrollments, and stabilizing premiums for those with pre-existing conditions. The bill states:
“Nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting health insurance issuers to limit access to health coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions.”
Here are additional reasons why I am supporting this law:
- This bill eliminates nearly a trillion dollars of taxes
- This bill eliminates federal funding of Planned Parenthood;
- This bill prioritizes Medicaid money for those who need it the most: the elderly, the disabled and children;
- This bill can save many hospitals in Kansas from closing by increasing funding for Medicare patients;
- This bill allots more than $120 billion in federal support for risk pools and stability funds;
- This bill allocates another $15 billion, specifically for maternity coverage, newborn care, mental health and substance abuse disorders.
I understand that every association, every profession, every media outlet and every individual can find something they do not like about the new American Health Care Act, including myself. Having said that, doing nothing is not an option. The AHCA is a tremendous step in the right direction.
This is only the first chapter of a new book on health care.