- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
I look forward to receiving my copy of The Calvert Recorder every Wednesday and Friday. I especially look forward to reading the Community Forum section. I have also become accustomed to reading a variety of letters from readers who complain, accuse, attack and denigrate everything that the Democratic party and its leaders do, propose or try to accomplish. It was therefore not surprising to me to find a letter [“Health care reform unpredictable,” July 25] that accuses U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) of making inaccurate and untruthful statements about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare.
The writer of this particular letter suggests that the effects of the ACA will be unpredictable, create uncertainty, increase health care costs, hurt America’s global competitiveness and not accomplish its proper and promised stated goals. I agree with the writer that the long overdue overhaul of our health care system will cause some uncertainty and that adjustments and corrections will have to be made. I do, however, disagree with the writer’s other conclusions. The solution he proposes is to repeal the law in its entirety. (Polls show that most Americans like the major provisions of the ACA.) According to him, the best way to do this, of course, is to not re-elect Congressman Hoyer, one of the most powerful and effective United States representatives, and replace him with his Republican opponent, who has no political experience or clout on the federal level. It seems ludicrous to me to assume that an inexperienced first-term congressman with no clout or influence could represent our congressional district, county or nation better and be more effective than the current U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. Mr. Hoyer has a long, proven record of effective, dedicated service and leadership. Electing a Republican would not only hurt Southern Maryland and the nation, but would add one more voice to the Republican majority, which has done little or nothing to help solve our economic and other problems. Their unwillingness to compromise, obstructionism, pledge for no tax increase under any circumstances and support of the failed economic policies of the past have only exasperated the problems and hurt our country.
It is true that uncertainty has a negative effect on the economy and that predictability is much better for long-term growth. The Affordable Care Act is and will continue to put an end to this uncertainty. The act puts in place reforms, some of which have already taken effect, and will continue to take effect through 2014 and beyond. Anyone — individuals, businesses, health care professionals, insurance companies and anyone else who is interested — can consult any number of websites to obtain this information. One of the best ones, in my opinion, is healthcare.gov, which allows you to see exactly how the health care law will affect you. Another criticism made by those who oppose the ACA is that the law will hurt minority communities and small businesses. Quite the opposite is true, since the law will insure tens of millions of people who are presently uninsured, and it will strengthen Medicare and provide access to preventive services and prescription discounts for seniors. The ACA provides tax credits and new programs that are available to small businesses to help make health care more affordable for employers, employees and early retirees. In addition, it offers clear choices for consumers, lowers the cost of insurance premiums and prevents insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions or those who are too ill.
The last cited criticism of the law, which I will address, is that the Affordable Care Act will hurt America’s competitiveness in the world and should therefore be repealed. Again, quite the opposite is true. A quick search of literature will show that Americans spend twice as much on health care as residents of other industrial countries. Despite this, we get lower quality and less efficiency and have the least equitable system. The U.S. ranked last when compared to countries like Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia. On Jan. 18, 2011, former Commerce Secretary Gary Locke pointed out that the most important benefit of ACA is that it will make American business more competitive by reining in rapidly increasing health care costs. American businesses large and small will be able to improve their performance against foreign competitors, most of whom have significantly lower health care costs. A RAND study conducted in 2009 confirmed that over the past 25 years, many American employers were losing jobs and revenue as a result of high health care costs. The new health care law is not perfect and will most likely be changed and made better as time goes on. However, repealing the law would be bad for the American economy, American business and the American people. By moving toward a more affordable, effective and equitable health care system, the United States will be able to move ahead in the global race to develop new industries, create new jobs and provide a better future for all Americans.
Thomas J. L. Hausmann, Owings