The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

January 29, 2014

Your View: Health care gold

JOPLIN, Mo. — Technical glitches marred the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and created a feast of negative material for our content-hungry media.

Lost in all of the negative talk is the positive impact the ACA has already had in Missouri. In our state, up to 2,602,000 people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, cancer and diabetes, can no longer be denied coverage or be charged higher prices because of their health status or history. That includes approximately 339,000 children.

Insurance companies have sent rebates averaging $72 per family to approximately 457,000 Missouri families because of new policies that made sure premium dollars work for the consumer, not just the insurer.

In the first 10 months of 2013, over 70,000 seniors and people with disabilities have saved on average $779 on prescription medications as the ACA closes Medicare’s so-called “doughnut hole.”

In Missouri, 55,000 young adults have gained health insurance because they can now stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26.

And thanks to the ACA, we no longer have to worry about having our health benefits cut off after we reach a lifetime limit on benefits.

Good things are happening and will continue once the technical glitches are fixed. When fully functional, the ACA will bring the United States in line with all other industrialized countries, which provide their citizens with some kind of national health care and have far better medical outcomes than we have. In 2006, for example, the United States was No. 1 in health care spending per capita but ranked 39th for infant mortality. Our eyes should be set on bringing home the health care gold.

 Doug Brooks

 Joplin

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