Panel describes pros and cons of health care system

By Rohma Siddiqui
WFFT TV (Fox affiliate, Fort Wayne, Ind.), Jan. 26, 2015

Open enrollment for Obamacare comes to an end February 15 and a panel of local experts with Theater for Ideas weighed in on the pros and cons of our healthcare system. 

There were strong opinions on both sides but the experts stressed the importance of healthcare, and consumers educating themselves on Obamacare before choosing their plans.

"We are the only western democracy that does not have some form of government sponsored healthcare system for its citizens. We are the only one," says Edith Kenna who is a social worker with Hoosiers for Common Sense Health Plan.

Kenna feels that there are pros to Obamacare and considers it a start towards the right direction.

"I think it's a good start at change of healthcare but we're not there yet until we get a single-payer system. A single-payer system would be private doctors, physicians. The government would administer the funds. It is not the government owning my practice, the doctor's practice, but it is the management of the fee."

Kenna says it's good that people now have something instead of nothing but thinks regardless of its pros, it is in fact very complicated even for someone of her background. She mentions that Obamacare is over 1,500 pages long.

"One of my real concerns about Obamacare is that [people] are under-insured. They're forced to pay premiums, some of the $500 - $600 a month for inadequate insurance. It doesn't cover their need. The co-pays are too high and the premiums are too high."

Dr. Jon Walker is a local physician who spoke at the panel. He says one of the best things about Obamacare is the ability to be accepted regardless of pre-existing conditions, but there are still improvements to be made. Especially since profits for insurance companies have been going higher and higher since Obamacare.

"I think there's one really big option that's been kept off the table and that is expanding Medicare, raising everybody's taxes a little bit starting off with some basic Medicare coverage,” Walker said. “I think there's a lot of evidence from around the world that it's something we should at least be able to talk about but we don't seem to be able to do that."

"It's kind of like going to the store and that store taking every single currency in the world and have the value of that currency change every minute and trying to figure out what you're going to buy."

Walker says the system definitely needs more transparencies and that it would be nice to know prices to be able to compare and shop for. Not just insurance but procedures and medication as well, which is currently not possible for the consumer.

Now for those who choose to opt out of Obamacare, will face a penalty fee. Currently, that fee is 2 percent of your annual income. Only those who earn more than $10,000 annually are responsible for paying the fee.

PNHP note: This article was originally published under the headline, “Open Enrollment for Obamacare Ends February 15th.” The version of the story at the link contains video footage of Ms. Kenna and Dr. Walker, among others.