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Fairfax County Times

Dear Editor:

A recent letter in the Fairfax County Times —“Obamacare is the issue facing Americans”) made a number of unsupported assertions regarding the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).  Expressing one’s opinion is one thing, one’s “own facts” are entirely another. As the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once noted: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

Examples of unsupported assertions of fact in last week's letter include this one: “3,000 bureaucrats will have access to your private health records.”  Where did that come from? This is an appeal to fear, not a statement of fact.

Those of us with coverage under a group plan or our own individual coverage (e.g. Kaiser Permanente, United Health Care, etc.) will essentially have no change regarding health care coverage and claims processing provided by any of the current insurance carriers under the Affordable Care Act.  It is simply untrue that the government will review an individual’s medical record when an insurance carrier processes a claim.

The writer further states that none of what President Obama claimed about savings is true. Do any data support that assertion?  According to a Henry J. Kaiser Foundation news release on August 14, “Americans currently buying insurance on the individual market would receive $2700 in subsidies (as tax credits) in 2014 under Obamacare” (kff.org). That sounds like some significant savings to me.  The Kaiser Foundation also noted: ““While premiums will vary significantly across the country, they are generally lower than expected.” (kff.org)

Yet another naked assertion is not “obvious” to me, but the writer thinks it should be: “It should be obvious to all Americans that this law…will cost all of us dearly in taxes and pass-through medical costs from our hard-earned pay.”  The fact is that commercial insurance enrollees already pay a “hidden tax” to cover uncompensated care provided for the uninsured—e.g., we in Fairfax County who are insured already pay INOVA for all the uninsured who pass through their emergency room with no insurance plan or with no individual financial resources to pay for their care (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/healthreform/).

Regardless of how unhappy people may say they are with the Affordable Care Act, the fact remains, as the Kaiser Foundation recently pointed out, “a majority of Americans (57 percent) say they disapprove of the idea of cutting off funding as a way to stop the law from being implemented, a finding that has been consistent in Kaiser Health Tracking Polls since January 2011” ((kff.org).

Why do we have Americans so comfortable with millions of their fellow Americans being uninsured?  Why do those opposing the Affordable Care Act think it is okay NOT to ban discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and to drop people from coverage? Does this discrimination advance the “American liberty” that the writer claims should be our “focus”?

I thought our system of government was one in which Congress passes laws, the president signs them, and then the laws go into effect.  The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) went through this process and was upheld in challenges at the Supreme Court.  Isn’t it time to let the law take effect, so that it may begin providing the expected improvements to our healthcare system which it sorely needs?

Bruce H Neilson
5102 Richardson Drive
Fairfax VA 22032
703-323-0457