By Jack Bernard
The Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, Ga.), Letters, Feb. 1, 2017

Do not be fooled by the rhetoric coming out of some of the congressional leadership and specifically Rep. Price, nominee for HHS secretary, and Speaker Ryan. When you hear them say “access to coverage” think about unaffordable premiums. Access clearly does not mean that all taxpayers will have health care insurance...or truly be able to pay for offered policies.

Although there are cost issues with the ACA (Obamacare), there will be much greater cost increases if it is repealed with no coverage assistance. Currently, 85% of those enrolled in the ACA get significant assistance.

In every plan coming out of Congress, these subsidies are abolished and replaced with mechanisms whereby citizens put away their own money to pay for premiums. That is fine for the wealthy. However, without the ACA subsidies, working people simply can’t afford health insurance under these proposals. Especially the elderly who will pay five times as much as younger people under Speaker Ryan’s proposals.

And, if no replacement is put forth, 18 million of our citizens will immediately lose coverage, rising to 32 million over time, per the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

If we take the politics out of this situation, the solution is clear: expand Medicare over time to cover all Americans. Both Obama and Trump have stated as much. The obstacle is the insurance and pharmacy lobbies.

Jack Bernard resides in Peachtree City.