It’s been a year since President Obama and the Democrats passed the most sweeping overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system in more than 40 years. Sweeping it may have been, but for millions of Americans, this law is still inadequate. Unfortunately, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) leaves in place the unaffordable, unsustainable and grossly unfair profit-driven healthcare system.
Many Americans are still confused about the law. And one poll shows that although most people are opposed to the law, a quarter of those opposed believe it doesn’t go far enough. One of the most important provisions of PPACA, the prohibition on preexisting conditions, won’t go into affect until 2014. Meanwhile, millions of our citizens, battered by the worst recession since the Great Depression, are still going without coverage. Millions more are suffering under burdensome insurance premium increases.
A great post by Kevin Zeese of Prosperity Agenda details the problems inherent in PPACA:
Premiums are rising and coverage is shrinking a new norm is taking hold in America: ‘Unaffordable underinsurance.’ This month, the number of waivers granted to the Obama health law broke 1,000 protecting inadequate insurance plans. The expansion of health insurance to the uninsured is becoming a mirage. The Obama administration has told states they could reduce the number of people covered by Medicaid as well as reduce the services provided. And, the centerpiece of the law is under court challenge – the mandate is the first time ever the federal government has forced Americans to buy a corporate product, private health insurance – is heading to a close Supreme Court decision.
Although PPACA provides relief from some of the worst abuses of the health insurance industry, the law is nothing more than a Band-Aid covering a gaping wound. We can do much better. And we can do it without private health insurance companies. The fight for a simpler system that guarantees affordable access to health care for all has shifted to the states. California and Vermont are leading efforts to pass single payer at the state level. In Vermont, the state’s new Democratic governor has unveiled a single payer bill, and both U.S. senators support single payer. In California, State Sen. Mark Leno re-introduced SB 810 last month, and the bill is currently in committee. Even President Obama is acknowledging these state efforts by throwing his support to a federal bill that would allow states to opt out of most of PPACA’s requirements by 2014, instead of 2017.
We have a long battle ahead against the insurance industry lobbyists and their minions who would deny Americans their right to affordable health care. But progress is being made. Once PPACA’s shortcomings become more readily apparent, the public will realize that the only credible solution to our healthcare crisis is single payer.