Letter to the Editor

ACA reform going wrong way

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dear editor,

Can you name the only modern, industrialized democracy which lets its citizens go broke or die or both because they can't afford medical treatment? If you say "the USA," you're right.

In 2010, the U.S. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act which, for all its weaknesses, provided many more Americans with medical insurance coverage and brought us a little closer to the status enjoyed in other democracies. But today's U.S. Congressional leadership first in the House and now in the Senate are trying to enact legislation with titles like "Better Health Care Reconciliation Act."

These are efforts to shift American citizens into reverse when it comes to getting medical care. They want to shrink medical insurance coverage for large numbers of ordinary Americans shrink the numbers, the provisions and the services to those needing treatment.

They want to give the money "saved" to a small minority of the richest Americans. Warren Buffett, the second richest man in the world, says some of his friends will get a $10 million tax cut.

All of this Congressional fever fails to address the real demon: The world-record high costs of American medical treatment.

Many segments of our society, not just from grass-roots groups, oppose care cuts.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops the group that has been vigorous in its sometimes unfashionable defense of the unborn and the sanctity of marriage has objected. In a letter to the Senate, the bishops restated their teaching that "health care is not a privilege, but a right in keeping with the life and dignity of every person."

They explicitly denounced Congressional efforts to reduce medical coverage by means of "Medicaid per capita cap provisions..." and "significant penalties which the poor cannot afford, for gaps in coverage." Reform, they state, "ought to address barriers to affordability for those living above the poverty level but who are still working hard to make ends meet."

The Bishop's Conference urges the USA to move toward, not away from, the civilized-world standard: Medical care for all. And they assert and insist that this can be done without encouraging anyone to act against life or against their conscience.

The Bishops quote Pope Francis' words: "When the sick are not placed at the center and not considered in their dignity, attitudes arise which even lead to profiteering on other people's misfortunes."

Do Warren Buffett's friends really need tax cuts in the tens of millions of dollars? He says no.

What do you say? Think about it. It could mean your life literally.

Frank Monasterio,

Mountain Home

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