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Woodard weighs in on health care

Dear Editor:

According to a Channel 11 news feature posted on the internet, October 11, 2011, twenty percent of adults age 18 to 64 in the Mountain Empire do not have health insurance. That’s a lot of uninsured adults. Under the provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Act, insurance will be available to these individuals at a cost far below what is available now. Furthermore, this insurance will cover preexisting conditions and will not have an annual or lifetime limit.
Many provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, are already in
place. The one I’ve been waiting for, the Health Insurance Marketplace, will go into effect January 1, 2014. Individuals can begin applying October 1, 2013 for insurance through the Marketplace. These policies are through private insurance companies, such as BlueCross and BlueShield, who have met federal guidelines to participate in the program. Insurance purchased through the Marketplace is less expensive because the Federal Government pays part of the premium and because there will be a large pool of insured individuals which spreads the risk. A calculator that can help you determine approximately what insurance will cost for you and your family can be found on a website provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation. To find a link to the calculator, type www.healthcare.gov into your computer’s search engine and look under the Affordable Healthcare Act. Actual costs won’t be available until October 1st. Adults who do not have insurance in 2014 will have to pay a penalty of $95.00 for the year. However, no one will be forced to buy insurance through the Marketplace. For me personally, it is a very good choice.
Some argue that the United States can’t afford to provide almost universal healthcare. Of course we can! The US spends more per person on healthcare than any other country. Still, we don’t have the best health outcomes. I believe much of the problem is distribution. If more people have health insurance they are more likely to receive preventive care. This should lead to a healthier America with a lower infant mortality rate and high life expectancy.

Fay Woodard