The Presidential debate’s most important Topic: The Affordable Care Act

In this election season, one of the biggest questions seems to be, will the Affordable Care Act be implemented in such a way as to avoid the pitfalls that other Country’s face with regards to their own State-run healthcare Systems.

Will this subject be addressed in the first Presidential debate on Wednesday in Denver, CO.

Numerous scenarios have been envisioned. Will people be able to keep their current insurance carriers? Will this mean that the U.S. government will administer all peoples healthcare, ala Medicare. Will the Government’s taking control of the healthcare system cause me to pay more, and receive less?

Will this initiative cause our current system of healthcare to go bankrupt?

And as pundits in many corners say, will this create death panels?

Let us examine a few of the potential problems, and ask for answers from the Democrats, authors of this initiative, termed “Obama care” by Republicans.

I have been commenting on a link provided by one of my Facebook friends this week, and it started out as a debate over the Mitt Romney campaigns efforts to get this country back on solid ground economically, but has morphed into a discussion on all things right and wrong with both candidates views and respective solutions in the healthcare debate.

This morning, I awoke to a notification of a link to a recent article published by the Daily Mail online, from a commenter to the aforementioned discussion that indicates that the British government run health care system is in dire straits.

In the Daily Mail article, the author, Sophie Borland, indicates that the State-run health care system in the U.K. is fraught with numerous challenges, specifically, off hours doctor assignments, or the lack thereof, and the potential for malpractice and death to patients not provided with adequate, professional coverage.

So let us have a look at this issue.

With the current Global Recession affecting all countries bottom lines, a concerted effort is afoot within the National Health Services administration in the U.K. to balance the books.

More and more Doctors in the U.K. have been limiting there availability for off hours duty for numerous reasons, the main reason being that PCT’s, or Primary Care Trusts, have been established to administer the healthcare system, and just like our own Medicare system, have had to implement cost cutting measures to extend coverage to all people, as unemployment rises, which then decreases funding for this system because of lack of payroll taxes.

These PCT’s have routinely assigned only one doctor to handle up to 500,000 potential patients during the off hours, with the doctor having to cover hundreds of square miles, and the patients therein.

Under England’s freedom of Information act, the Daily Mail asked every PCT in England a series of questions in regards to off hours doctor availability and coverage.

Quoting directly from that article, of the 90 PCT’s that actually responded, 35 indicated they had cut their budgets for off hours doctor coverage in the past year, by an average figure of 10 percent. And 11 trusts employed only one doctor at night to cover between 180,000 and 535,000 patients.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of The Patients Association, said: “These stark figures confirm what patients are telling us – it is incredibly difficult to get access to a GP out of hours either to talk by phone or to arrange a home visit.”

That begs the question.

Can this happen here?

The basic answer is yes, but the Affordable Care Act as passed by Congress, and signed into law by President Obama, has taken into account many of the inherent problems of other state-run healthcare systems.

Our system is a bit different, as the Federal government will not become everyone’s “Insurance Carrier,” as seems to be the case in many other countries. We will all be able to keep our current insurance carrier, with our employer providing coverage for their employees.

Now the people who choose not to pay for health care insurance, and the people who can’t afford it, that’s another story.

People that decline to buy health insurance will be assessed a “fine,” or a tax as some view it, for not purchasing this coverage.

And our government will use this money to pay for the insurance costs for the people that can’t afford coverage. Sounds simple, right? Hold on a minute.

If the “levy” for not obtaining health insurance is used to pay for people that cannot afford it, it will have to be an amount equal to double what that insurance will cost, as it has to provide insurance for the person unable to afford it, as well as the person being “levied,” providing the ratio of people unable to afford it and the people unwilling to purchase it is 1 to 1. To “levy” someone to pay for someone else would not be fair unless the person being “levied” also received coverage for their paying of the “levy.”

This will force the person to actually purchase insurance coverage to avoid the “levy” and consequently eliminate the funding for the person that can’t afford coverage.

So who will foot the bill then?

Our Government, that’s who. And by extension, taxpayers like you and me.

Will our government then create another Medicare type system to insure these unfortunate folks, and fund it with payroll taxes, just like Medicare. Or maybe a tax on insurance carriers and their policy holders, which will be passed on to the actual end user, you and I.

This is the slippery slope that the Affordable Care Act has put us on, and hope is that these potential problems will be addressed by our next President, and our leaders in Congress.

Are you listening President Obama?

Senator Reid, do you have any solutions?

Stay tuned for more.

Article by Jim Donahue

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