Dear Mr. Graham,
I thank you for the response to the message I sent you regarding my concerns regarding your party’s intention to repeal the Affordable Care Act. You were the only of my Congressional representatives who responded at all, even if it was in form letter format.
However that letter, as is usually the case in these matters, left me dissatisfied in what the message you sent, most certainly intended to dissuade any concerns I may have. It failed to do so, mainly because I have been quite interested in the process of health care, insurance, and how it impacts us, the average resident of this country.
While the ACA did provide necessary health care coverage for some, it has failed others, leaving many Americans with increased premiums and decreased choice as health insurers flee the exchanges.
This is only partially true. The ACA provided health care coverage for some Americans, those who were not already covered by employer based coverage, or through Medicaid or Medicare, or most Americans. It also gave huge benefits to all people with any type of insurance coverage, by providing free screenings, immunizations and even some medications, like birth control. It allowed parents to cover their children for longer, quite beneficial if their child had a health condition that a lapse in insurance could be catastrophic. People in states who accepted the expanded Medicaid coverage saw decreased premiums and increased choice. Those of us in red states, or with GOP governors did not.
Which brings us to the desire of the GOP to give states greater control over our healthcare. South Carolina has never ranked high in many things that we can be proud about, healthcare is one of them. Thanks to the refusal of former Governor Haley, to accept the Medicaid expansion offered, many South Carolinians were shut out of opportunities for better and more affordable quality care. The rest of us have only seen a slight slow down in the cost of health care costs, and being priced out of services because of that cost.
I agree that the ACA did not keep prices down as advertised, but that is because, we the people have not been given a say in our health care cost, availability or even quality. I do not for one minute believe your statement that says:
I will work diligently to replace this bill with legislation that transfers power from Washington back to patients and the states.
Why? Because the states, and the patients haven’t had any control of this in decades. The ones who have been calling the shots in how our health care is managed has lain mostly in the hands of insurance companies, private for profit health entities, and pharmaceutical companies. It is they that dictate the costs, the types of care patients get, what is a covered service or item, and what isn’t. While things have improved in the past few decades, like maternity care not being an insurance rider that has to be pre-purchased so that having a baby is covered by insurance, much of health insurance has followed the same essential model since the 1990s.
If you truly want to reform, and truly want patients having more control, than it is time to rein in those who keep driving costs up. It is not us, It is not the states. It is Insurance, Pharmaceutical and for profit health companies that are making health care anything but affordable. Nation after nation has demonstrated how quality health care can be had for all its residents when profit is taken out of the equation.
We shouldn’t have to choose, as I and my husband both have, to do without medication till pay-day, or delay a needed health procedure because we can’t afford it, or dread getting the flu, because that trip to Urgent Care is going to kill our budget for the month. No one should have to worry about what happens if they get sick, or if they will lose their house when getting a diagnosis, or risking their lives, and stopping treatment, because the prescribed treatment is as more than their house payment a month.
Change the ACA, improve it, make it work for all of us. You were given a great start by the passage of the ACA. By repealing it, you and your peers, put us all at risk.
A copy of this has been sent to Senator Graham. I urge everyone to contact their representatives, and let them know how you feel about our healthcare system and its future.