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Johnson's Rebuttal: Should Obamacare be repealed?


Heath Mayo '13 would have you believe that the health care reform game is over, and that Obamacare lost. He is quick to judge the results of Obamacare, which is curious given that the majority of the bill does not take effect until 2014. The idea that Obamacare is a failure is simply untrue, and we are seeing progress already.

For example, 2011 is the first year in recent memory when the number of insured Americans actually increased, and the first year in a decade when the rate of private insurance remained steady. This is thanks to the fact that young Americans are able to stay on their parents' insurance longer and due to the beginning of the Medicaid expansion, both courtesy of Obamacare. 2011 also saw the lowest rate of premium increase in years.

Next, Mayo gravely warns of "mounds of regulations," but names only one - that owners of large firms must provide health care coverage to their workers or face a penalty. And while large businesses will certainly pay more to offer coverage to their workers, I assert that this is far better than workers having to find insurance in the costly individual market. In addition, the Affordable Care Act provides premium-assistance subsidies to those in need.

I give Mayo credit for admitting that the Medicaid expansion is "well-intentioned." He errs, however, when he criticizes increased payment for primary care providers like family physicians and pediatricians. Countries with lots of primary care providers and fewer specialists generally have lower cost, higher quality care. Increasing payments to these currently undervalued players in the system is an important incentive for aspiring doctors to choose the field of primary care rather than specialty medicine.

The proper course of action is not to eliminate all of the progress made by the Affordable Care Act. As Mayo concedes, there are "worthy ideas" within the bill. Rather, we must continue the fight toward high quality, low-cost health care, using the Affordable Care Act as a starting point. Now is not the time to move backward on health care reform - it's time to move forward.



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