Because of the Affordable Care Act, 98 percent of the people in this country should soon be covered by health insurance. That is the experience in Massachusetts now that "Romneycare" is fully implemented. Note also that the coverage does not have a cap and that it has a maximum out-of-pocket limit.
Just imagine how many bankruptcies that will prevent. There will be a further large savings because people will have preventive care and timely care, which is much cheaper than waiting until the situation is bad enough for a trip to the emergency room.
The ACA replaces the government-subsidized insurance gold mine called Medicare Advantage with a few million new health insurance customers, some of whom will get a government subsidy. I don't think the insurance companies will complain about that.
As for the mandate to buy health insurance: Do you own a car or truck? If you are going to put yourself in a position where you might owe large sums of money, you should have insurance instead of gambling with everyone else's money. The ACA is even kind enough to help you pay for it if you cannot afford it on your own.
This is not a large new expense, as it removes the need to pay even larger sums to cover the expenses of the uninsured and underinsured that we have been paying for ever since President Ronald Reagan signed the law that requires hospitals to treat everyone, even those without the means to pay.
ROBERT ROBBINS, RAMSEY
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There were several decisions handed down by the Supreme Court this week, three of them decided by a single vote, a simple majority. There is much agreement and disagreement about the decisions, but they are now the law of the land.
Contrast that with the U.S. Senate, where a simple-majority vote is almost impossible. Were the Senate to deliberate on whether the sun does indeed rise in the east, it would first engage in a tooth-and-nail, hammer-and-tongs fight, then insist on 60 votes to even approve such a measure coming to the floor for discussion. Is there any wonder why the U.S. Senate accomplishes so very little, and why its poll numbers are so abysmally low?
Simple-majority votes for momentous Supreme Court decisions, but 60 votes for almost any Senate issue, regardless of its importance. What are they thinking?
RON BENDER, RICHFIELD
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Just a reminder to Mitt Romney and the Republicans in Congress who promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act if they take control in the 2012 elections: There is virtually no chance they will achieve a supermajority of 60 seats in the Senate. The Republicans will have to contend with a Democratic-led filibuster opposed to repeal. Once again: Should the Republicans become the majority in a few months, the minority will actually rule the Senate; the Democrats will be in control when it comes to repeal.
MIKE CARLS, HUTCHINSON, MINN.
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Now that the Supreme Court has ruled favorably on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare 2010), perhaps the basic reasons for the legislation should be examined. Justification for ACA is twofold -- universal health insurance and control of health care cost inflation. The former may be achieved. However, the ACA will not successfully control inflation.
Despite spending more on health care than any other nation, the United States is close to the bottom of the 30 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development nations in health quality and longevity. Predictions are that health care soon will consume 20 percent of our GDP, a level of grave consequence for our economy. Contributing to the inflation problem is the public misconception that more care is better care and that we should not limit expenditures. This error is contributed to by government, the media and care providers.
Furthering the problem is our fee-for-service system, providing incentives for physicians to provide more care. An additional inflation factor is the relative absence of evidence-based medicine, in which newly introduced diagnostic tests and procedures prematurely become everyday practice, lacking in prior statistical analysis of their value.
I see little or nothing in the ACA addressing the several factors contributing to health care cost inflation. Perhaps we should start over.
DR. SEYMOUR HANDLER, EDINA
The writer is a retired physician.
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My "Pocket Constitution" protecting our unalienable rights and including the Declaration of Independence contains fewer than 50 pages.
At approximately 2,600 pages, the Affordable Care Act hands over our liberty with respect to life and death, health care and some other things to an army of federal bureaucrats, with thousands of IRS agents looking over our shoulders to enforce compliance. The ACA includes a mandate, sold to us by the administration as a fine or penalty, not a tax.
On Thursday, in about 190 pages, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to use the so-called Commerce Clause to force us to buy something, but under its power to tax has authority to levy a tax on us if we do not buy it.
I agree that the Commerce Clause only authorizes the federal government to regulate commerce. I agree that the federal government has the power to tax. But I do not agree with Roberts' essentially inserting the word "tax" in the ACA in exchange for the words "fine" or "penalty." That is judicial activism!
BOB JENTGES, NORTH MANKATO, MINN.
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The Supreme Court has effectively stated that it is a fundamental right of every American to have access to our health care system -- not just the wealthy, not just the healthy, not just the employed. Everyone. In all future debates, in all the analysis and in all the rhetorical political speeches, that question is off the table. Americans have the right to live a healthy life. This is a great step forward for the country.
That said, the court also stated that it doesn't agree with how Congress has ensured that right. Chief Justice Roberts said, "It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices." Even if the ACA is a flawed implementation of a fundamental right, the American people elected Congress, and it's not up to the court to question the American people. We elected our leaders to ensure our basic rights. Let's hope that Congress will come together to protect them.
RICHARD CROSE, BLOOMINGTON