If The War Was Over We’d All Be Cheering

            The other day the AP reported the results of a recent poll in California regarding the Affordable Care Act. “The Field Poll, surveying uninsured, lower-income voters who it said would qualify for coverage, found slightly more than half either did not know it or believed the opposite — that they were not eligible. Forty-eight percent were aware they could qualify, the poll found. The margin was even wider for voters currently not covered by an employer or government program but who would qualify for tax credits when purchasing coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which takes full effect next year. Two of three of those voters either did not know about their eligibility for the tax breaks or thought they would not qualify.” (Poll: Many who could get ‘Obamacare’ don’t know it AP 8-21-13). Motivation for passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was twofold – including as many Americans as possible within health insurance coverage and through this mechanism, gaining some control over the rising cost of health care in this country. The objectives “seem” to make sense. As the cost of health care rises unchecked, the number of those being unable to afford it (or the insurance to cover it) will grow. The situation parallels that of higher education in this country. As cost go up, those able to afford it decreases. Yet economic forecasts indicate the demand for uneducated workers decreases with the ever developing technology of today’s world.  So health care, like education, is a national concern with a direct correlation to the security and overall well-being of our country. Unfortunately, both of these are not deemed to be such (critical to our security and well-being) by all the leaders of our country. No alternative to the Affordable Care Act has been formulated, let alone presented, to address what motivated the law that was passed and found constitutional. Instead, every means possible to defund and negate the law have been put into play, with a proposed shut down of the government of the United States of America suggested for late September. Here in Ohio, one aspect of the law that the Supreme Court ruled was not correct (mandatory Medicaid expansion by the individual states) has been embraced as a means of dismantling the law. Another is the non-institution of the state health insurance marketplace, which the state legislators chose to defer to the federal authorities. The roadblock was expanded through the ingenious logic that since all this falls under the purview of Ohio’s insurance laws, those offering guidance and assistance must be officially licensed as “navigators” by the state of Ohio. The legislated total number possible is less than the total number of counties in the state. You do the math.

 

            This blog’s 3-6-13 post (Updated Statistics) gave 2011 US census data for Newark. That data indicated that per capita income for 2011 was listed as $21,951, median household income between 2007 and 2011 came out as $37,927, and the number of persons below the poverty level for 2007 – 2011 at 20.1% of the population. This data also breaks down the number of households in Newark and their income. Approximately 85% of the households in Newark are below the $92,000 annual income category that is one of the thresholds in The Affordable Care Act. That threshold applies to a family of four. Of course, many of these households will not be a family of four. The important point is that so many, probably more than half of the households in Newark, are eligible and enabled to obtain health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Yet there is a virtual news blackout with regard to how to go about doing this, who is able to inform the potential purchaser about obtaining coverage, and what to expect from this coverage. In its place we have obfuscation and brinksmanship without any alternative presented as to how to get as many Americans covered by health insurance and bring health care costs within reason. If you are an individual who has never had health care because you can’t afford it (with a per capita income well under the affordable care individual cut off of $45,000, a great number of the citizens of Newark) or you are employed where insurance is offered but not for you because of some employer restrictions or policy, or you are unemployed, a student, etc., well, in Ohio today, you are in the company of mushrooms with regard to how to obtain health insurance coverage.

 

            Currently Ohio has opted out of the Medicaid expansion which complicates matters for the over 20% of Newark residents that could be, would be, or are included. Determination of such expansion is once again in the hands of those who favor brinksmanship instead of acting in serving and assisting all their constituents. This blog will attempt to present what is known and doable regarding the Affordable Care Act with its future posts. If the war was over we’d all be cheering. Here an achievement has been made, an end reached, and yet everyone is silent. Is this because we are a people, a culture that only understands a perpetual state of war – the war on terrorism, the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on crime, the war on …?

           

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