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April 23, 2014

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letter to the editor:

Haven’t politicians done enough yet?

Michael Hiltzik wrote two pieces on the Affordable Care Act last month. Together, they contain two true statements — “the real target of the ACA is frustratingly murky” and “The politicians claiming they are only out to ‘fix’ a broken program are playing you for suckers, and not for the first time.”

It is murky by design. Think Nancy Pelosi. The original criteria were to emulate “the European plans” spending 50 percent less per person with better outcomes and include everyone, but not make it a single payer program. If anyone has seen a summary of spending benchmarks by cost element in the emulated plans vs. our historical costs, as well as the ACA’s estimated costs broken out on the same elements, please tell me where. I have not been able to find it from friend or foe. Nor have I seen comparisons of the rules and administration. How are intelligent challenges to be made?

As far as being political, a resounding yes! However, the starting point is the condition prior to ACA. That condition was badly flawed and needed fixing. The ACA didn’t define the base or the “fix,” was marketed like a drug dealer by putting the freebies up front and hiding the ending, and then waiting three years to bring in the systems experts.

The whole of Hiltzik’s piece deals with the individual market, roughly 6 percent of the total, and which 1, 2 or 5 million victims are most important. Studies were done in 2010 predicting 50 to 67 percent of the individual market could lose their plan — and doctors. The study also predicted 30 to 50 percent cancellations in the large corporate market, 80-plus percent of the market. That is 50 to 100 million people. Why do you think President Barack Obama allowed the one year pushback in the corporate market so quickly but initially denied the individual pushback?

We absolutely need change — constructive change. The ACA was poorly (politically) designed for its objectives, poorly (politically) constructed and obviously implemented to mislead numerous constituencies until it was beyond recall.

Enter the politicians to save it!

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