As a tax paying North Carolina citizen, I dropped in on the CarolinaFest at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. The city should be very proud of the excitement and true diversity that was in attendance in vast numbers. I felt pride in America seeing people of all shapes, sizes and colors and seeing so many young people interested in what is going on. The best few minutes I spent was chatting with Dr. Becky, a dermatologist from Vermont. She was at a booth on Tryon Street (Charlotte’s main street) with the banner of the group she represented called “Doctors for America” with the key message of “Patients over Politics.” From the material and what I gleaned from my conversation with Dr. Becky, they are an affiliation of 15,000 physicians and medical students who are advocating for the continuation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but sharpening the focus on patients not politics.
Their mission which can be found on http://www.drsforamerica.org is as follows:
“Doctors for America is a grassroots movement of 15,000 physicians and medical students who are working together to improve the health of the nation and to ensure that everyone has access to high-quality, affordable health care.”
Their passion matches my own in trying to perpetuate the continuation of ACA regardless of who wins the White House. I have noted earlier that to repeal this law would be a disservice to Americans. It is complex and needs further refinements, but to throw it out would be akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water. I am going to recite from one of their handouts as this is the voice of doctors and medical students rather than my own:
“Get the Facts: Busting the Top 10 Myths on the Affordable Care Act
MYTH #1″ It’s too complicated to understand any of it.
FACT: The basics are simple: 32 million more Americans will be insured. The worst insurance company abuses will end. We will start improving quality and controlling cost for everyone. FACT: HealthCare.gov explains the law and how it will be rolled out.
MYTH #2: It hasn’t helped anyone.
FACT: Insurance now covers: 1) Children with pre-existing conditions, 2) 3.1 million young adults through age 26, who can now stay on their parents’ plans, 3) Adults with pre-existing conditions can now sign up for high-risk plans. FACT: No more insurance company caps on how much they will spend on your health care.
MYTH #3: We can’t afford it.
FACT: We can’t afford not to have it. By promoting access to the right care, at the right place, at the right time, the ACA was designed to save money while keeping people healthier.
MYTH #4: It hurts Medicare and seniors.
FACT: Seniors get help affording prescription drugs. FACT: Seniors get annual check-ups with no copays. FACT: It invests in making Medicare work better for the long run for seniors and doctors, while cracking down on fraud.
MYTH #5: It’s increasing premiums and costs for families.
FACT: Private employer-based premiums were skyrocketing before the law, and it will help change that. FACT: Insurance companies now have to explain why they are raising rates on a public website. FACT: If insurance companies don’t spend enough of your premium dollars on health care, they are now required to send you a rebate at the end of the year.
MYTH #6: It’s hurting small businesses.
FACT: Many small businesses with fewer than 50 employees are now getting tax credits of up to 35% of health insurance premiums. Beginning in 2014, many small businesses will be eligible for tax credits up to 50% of insurance premiums.
MYTH #7: It’s unconstitutional.
FACT: The US Supreme Court ruled ACA is constitutional.
MYTH #8: It’s all about insurance and not about health.
FACT: It creates a national Prevention Fund – long overdue investment in improving health and preventing chronic disease. Communities across the country are already using grant money to help people live healthier lives. FACT: It invest in training more doctors, nurses, and other health professionals.
MYTH #9: It’s all about insurance and not about cost.
FACT: The Medicare and Medicaid Center for Innovation is promoting new models, innovations, and research across the country to start improving care while decreasing costs. FACT: The law invests in improving quality and coordination of care.
MYTH #10: It’s a government takeover of health care.
FACT: The ACA is a partnership between the government and businesses, communities, hospitals, doctors, and patients. It strengthens the private insurance market while protecting people and their health.
FACT: The more we know, the better the health and health care for our families and our country!”
I wanted to use the words of the doctors to tell the story. The only changes to the quote is the use of acronyms on occasion (ACA for Affordable Care Act, e.g.) for brevity. My rationale is there is so much misinformation and, I hate to say this, disinformation out there that Americans deserve to hear and see the real story. I go back to the fact ACA is largely a Republican idea and one that was set in motion by the GOP Presidential candidate in Massachusetts to me make the candidate and party extremely hypocritical. If Romney was to take the White House, repealing this imperfect, but transformative law would harm the very Americans who need it most. This is a way to strengthen the middle class and help those in poverty, many of whom are there because of lack of health care. People with insurance need to walk in the shoes of people without or who are under-insured. It is a very different experience and is a shame it occurs in a country like ours.
And, with a health care quality position of 38th in the world according to the World Health Organization with the highest cost , I don’t see why there is so much criticism over this, as the status quo before ACA started phasing in was unsustainable. The only rationale I can find is doing the opposite of what the Doctors for America advocate which is putting patients over politics. The GOP is putting politics first over patients. The fact a Democratic President refined a largely Republican idea as a compromise for a national health care system unnerves GOPers to no end. If you don’t believe this, why did Senator Jim DeMint, Mr. Tea Party, write a letter to President George Bush in 2007 advocating the Massachusetts plan highlighting the use of the mandate for coverage, which Romney took a lot of heat over when he did it. Now, the Senator seems to forget that he did this. Yet, in 2007, Senator DeMint did not say it, he did not text it, he did not tweet it or even send an email – he wrote a letter. That is the best example of hypocrisy I can recount – maybe I should write a letter about it. It is almost as bad as Newt changing his mind after changing his mind on global warming, which is recorded in a TV commercial with Nancy Pelosi, but I digress.
If there is any take away from this, please encourage people to check out this website to learn more. Seeing information condensed into a readable form by doctors is far better than listening to a politician or a campaign commercial which is at best a half-truth.
Again, the website is http://www.drsforamerca.org.