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Stan
I agree with your assertion that the greed of the insurance and drug industry leaders are wrong and that Obama and Congress accepted feeding that greed to get the ACA passed. It is time to correct that but, on the whole, I support the ACA. Here is my recently submitted letter to the Editor of the NC Med Journal about this:
To the Editor --- The November/December NCMJ’s letter to the Editor, ‘Health Care Costs Must Come Down’ by Ron Howrigen, president of Fulcrum Strategies, Raleigh, NC, demands a response. This is mine.
I heartily agree with the author that Health care costs must come down. This is inarguable and, in spite of the author’s pessimism, I note that the rate of rise of health care costs has already moderated since the Affordable Care Act ( ACA) was passed, even though it will cause a rise (estimated at 6%) as the millions of uninsured (at least double the 6%) are extended coverage by the ACA as it is fully implemented. However, the author totally avoided discussion of the ethical and moral issues the ACA sought to address, particularly the American public’s right to access and coverage of good health care. It has been our obligation, as fellow members of a wealthy nation, to provide that coverage after having failed to address it for over fifty years. Notably, the author, a consultant to physicians, is certainly not a disinterested party in the health care system and therefore his denial of any conflict of interest is hardly forthright. He actually admits his conflict in his statement of his ‘biggest concern,’ i.e. that the ACA will try to control costs by drastically reducing reimbursement to physicians. He and we must realize that our health care system is rapidly evolving to become not nearly as dependent on the physician as it has been in the past.
When the ACA was being considered by the Congress, those whose corporate bottom lines might be significantly impacted by it and the lobbyists who represent those interests read and studied the ACA carefully. I too read it, all of it. Yet few physicians or patients to whom I spoke had actually read even a small portion of the ACA. As I discussed it with others, I shared my excitement about the significant amount of the ACA which was directed to research ways to assess and improve medical care and coverage. I believe these aspects of the ACA had been included with the expectation that, someday, the findings of the research funded by the ACA could and would be used to improve health care and save money through the implementation of evidence-based practices and payment policies identified by that research. I am not unaware of the considerable compromises and gifts our elected officials in Washington, including our President, had to accept to get the ACA through Congress. I hoped that, over time, the positive effects and benefits of the ACA, such as the coverage of the nearly 50 million Americans without insurance and the removal of the pre-existing condition clauses, would be appreciated by most Americans. While I was disappointed especially in the failure of our President to be successful in his quest to avoid many of those concessions in the final ACA, I hoped those gifts to some corporate interests, including hospital, insurance, and pharmaceutical businesses, could be ameliorated or even reversed with time.
While I am dismayed by the unrelenting efforts in Congress to undo or limit funds for the ACA, the deficiencies of which are remediable, I remain excited about the good things which have already come and will be coming from this act, one of the most courageous, morally right steps our nation has ever taken.
Richard A Dickey, MD, FACP, FACE
Retired endocrinologist
51 Players Ridge Road
Hickory, North Carolina 28601-8839
radmd51@gmail.com
(828) 495-1230

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