Flawed Affordable Care Act needs fixing
Health care for all has been a goal for the U.S. bishops for almost a century. Yet despite the apparent Supreme Court victory June 28 for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the nation still does not have health care for all.
Most glaring is the lack of protection of the unborn, because the ACA allows use of federal funds for elective abortion. Rather than protecting children in utero, the health care law endangers them when it takes the unprecedented step of authorizing federal funds to subsidize health plans that cover such abortions. In addition, with the Health and Human Services mandate to coerce employers and employees to pay for female sterilization and contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs, children in utero are endangered more than they were before. When the ACA allows federal funding of abortion in various provisions, it contradicts longstanding federal policy in all other health care laws, such as Medicaid, Medicare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
The Affordable Care Act also excludes undocumented immigrants from the new health care exchanges, even if they simply want to purchase insurance with their own money. This is a cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face action, given that the ACA can’t work unless as many people as possible buy into the system. The stance also drives up health care costs for all of us because undocumented immigrants who cannot purchase insurance will be forced to seek medical care in the more expensive emergency room setting. For some, politics requires you fight against undocumented immigrants everywhere, despite the fact that about 11 million of them have become part of the fabric of America, holding jobs, paying taxes and making the economy work.
Some people will benefit from the Act. People with pre-existing medical conditions cannot be discriminated against, a merciful outcome. Young people can stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26, certainly good now when post-college does not automatically mean a good job with insurance benefits. The exchanges will help working families who don’t have insurance through their employers. Uninsured poor people will be helped by the Medicaid expansion if their state pursues the expansion, which the Court’s ruling has now made optional. [More]