OCALA, Fla., October 9, 2013 — Like it or not, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land. Whether or not it will prove to protect patients and facilitate affordable medical care is another story.
Beyond any partisan rhetoric, it does seem that the PPACA will benefit many lower income Americans. While this is good news for a segment of society which has been treated like cattle by insurance companies for generations on end, all is not well for everybody else.
Lower insurance costs for the hard-pressed are being subsidized by those in the middle and upper classes. This is manifested in the cost of policies skyrocketing to an extent which most could hardly imagine.
A great deal on the right are calling for the PPACA — colloquially referred to as “Obamacare” — to be repealed. While many have suggested alternative policies, it appears unlikely that any of these will seriously help the men, women, and children who have been abused by for-profit healthcare.
In spite of this, a hard-right band of congressional Republicans are set on stopping the PPACA from being implemented. Their resolve, along with the refusal of political battle-weary Democrats to compromise, has resulted in a federal government shutdown.
Considering how the PPACA is forcing different economic groups into a perpetual tug-of-war, can one earnestly say that the program is working? Likewise, in light of how medical insurance companies have exploited the most vulnerable, who can say that the old system is worth going back to?
Our country needs something different.
A good idea might be creating a national health system based on what the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has long offered.
The Veterans Health Administration offers access to “America’s largest integrated health care system with over 1,700 sites of care, serving 8.76 million Veterans each year.”
This would provide a basic healthcare package to citizens — with no exceptions made for illegal aliens or even legal residents — of all ages.
Should American citizens want more out of their package, then they would be able to purchase various options from the private sector, though with strict price controls. As for illegal aliens, well, why are they here in the first place?
While a proposal like this is sure to generate controversy both on the left and the right, it just may be the blueprint America requires to heal itself.
Isn’t that the ultimate goal of healthcare, beyond business or politics? Why have we lost sight of what really matters here?
Perhaps this is one of those questions whose answer scares us too much for honesty.
Far-left? Far-right? Get real: Read more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto
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