By Paul Meade
Anytime favorable gains can be made in the delivery of healthcare in the United States, we should all rejoice, especially given the current political environment. However small such gains are in healthcare, getting them approved and turning them into law is a Herculean task in Washington. President Obama started out attempting to make sweeping changes to healthcare in America, but like his many predecessors he quickly became crushed under the weight of never-ending compromises. What finally became know as the Affordable Care Act was rather anemic compared to what grand ideas were floated in its early days.
The Affordable Care Act was a great name for these changes to healthcare delivery; with escalating costs to both employers and employees, and the pool of uninsured and under-insured growing annually, who would not want “affordable care.” Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on one’s political perspective, the ACA became known as Obamacare. Given the political polarity that currently exists in the United States, which is exacerbated by an election year, this moniker for the ACA (Obamacare) has placed it under political attack by candidates on both sides of the fence. The Democrats want to keep the status quo of the ACA and work to improve upon this initial transformation of healthcare; whereas, the Republicans want to do away with “Obamacare” and presumably replace it with something better, or different. But wait a minute, wasn’t the ACA a plan borrowed in the first place from Mitt Romney, a Republican, and tweaked a bit to give it the Democratic “seal of approval?” Didn’t the Republicans vote against the ACA and try to bring it down through legal challenges? If Mitt Romney would have become president in the last election wouldn’t we have “Romneycare” today? Are you confused?
So, where does that leave the ACA? Should we keep it or lose it? The ACA, in my opinion, was a good start to what is a long-overdue need to transform healthcare in America. And whenever you can achieve a “good start” to such a monumental task, you should celebrate success and continue to move forward to make incremental changes (think Medicaid and Medicare in the 60’s). Whichever party is successful in this impending election, let’s not “re-invent the wheel,” but develop a bi-partisan approach to making incremental improvements to the Affordable Care Act, so that every citizen in America is a winner. I say we keep ACA and work towards improving it, because in the end who doesn’t want “affordable care?”