I am writing in response to June Jagunic's Oct. 18 column titled "Obamacare or Affordable Care Act?" Like so many who oppose the ACA, Ms. Jagunic clearly does not understand the law, nor does she realize that it contains many of the policies she advocates.
Ms. Jagunic begins by referring to the ACA as "a whole new health care plan."
The ACA is not a health care plan. It is a system of rules put in place to regulate the insurance industry.
No one signs up for "Obamacare," and the law contains no "public option." Rather, consumers choose among competing plans in statewide marketplaces called "exchanges."
Sounds a lot like capitalism, doesn't it?
Ms. Jagunic complains that "even the lowest-cost insurance is only good for catastrophic illness." That is precisely why Section 1302 of the ACA requires that qualified health plans cover "essential health benefits," including emergency care, prescription drugs, and preventive care.
Additionally, it is ironic that Ms. Jagunic argues that "Medicaid could just expand its services." This is exactly what Title II of the ACA contemplates.
The law includes provisions to expand Medicaid access across the country. Unfortunately, Republican governors and legislatures in many states have refused to cooperate. (Ohio Gov. John Kasich is a notable exception).
She also advocates a system that would "open up to include all people regardless of age or disability."
Again, the ACA does this in Section 1101 by prohibiting coverage denials based on pre-existing conditions. Thus, the ACA contains the very policy Ms. Jagunic argues for.
Finally, in Ms. Jagunic's system, everyone would "pay according to their ability." This is the basis for the individual responsibility provision of Section 1501 of the ACA.
Those who can afford coverage must pay for it or face a penalty. Those who cannot will receive subsidies.
By increasing the number of Americans who have insurance, the law expands the pool of policyholders and permits insurance companies to better balance their "medical losses" and contain costs.
Perhaps Ms. Jagunic would be surprised to learn that this portion of her proposed plan, as well as the components discussed above, are already contained in the ACA.
Christopher M. Kromer
Warren / Arlington, Va.