“If you like your plan you can keep it.” The truth is a little more complex. Those with grandfathered, private, and public health policies that meet the ACA requirements can keep their existing plans. However, Republicans are attempting to mangle an already complicated issue comparing a problematic website with a flawed healthcare initiative. As anyone who has ever launched a website knows, the technology is fraught with challenges, particularly on a scale which has never been tried before.
Generally, coverage comes in three ways: Government managed (35%), employer based (59%) and individual markets (6%) of these: 3% will have to buy a higher-quality health insurance plan, 3% will have almost no consequence except improved quality, 14% gain access to previously unavailable healthcare and 80% with private plans that meet the requirements of the ACA remain unaffected. Those with non-grandfathered plans (about 50% from each group) that don’t offer the benefits, rights and protections of the new law will have to choose. In some situations this could result in higher or lower premiums but will almost always result in better quality health insurance. Many plans being canceled lack protections like refusing coverage or treatment for preexisting conditions, unjustified rate hikes, high deductibles and lifetime limits. Moving forward, expanding coverage for mental heath, seniors, women, emergency care, hospitalization, prescription drugs, maternity, newborn care and child eligibility until age 26 must be included.
The reality is our current fragmented, convoluted, employer-based healthcare system cost far more and provides fewer outcomes, while leaving millions uninsured. Since 2000 Americans have seen their health premiums increase about 8% annually, largely due to an inefficient system and the indirect cost of uninsured patients. Markets together with government operate as complimentary pillars of the economy to produce the prosperity, fairness and sustainability we seek. We have an opportunity to create a world-class healthcare system the question is whether we consider healthcare a right of citizenship or a privilege of employment.