A big issue in the upcoming election is what will become of The Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare." Romney has plans to repeal it. If repealed, we would lose a law that benefits approximately 40 million people that presently have no insurance, whom would be able to get insurance under this law; and we would lose the Affordable Care Acts new patients bill of rights that puts you in charge of your healthcare instead of your insurance company with 12 rights we don't have now.
One of those rights is that we would be subject to pre-existing condition language that keeps people that really need to have insurance from being able to get or afford it. I have had the privilege of being a Decorah physician these last 33 years and have witnessed first hand:
1. The frightened look of those facing economic ruin because they have a big medical problem and no insurance. For one of the finest nations in the world to lack universal medical coverage is worse than an embarrassment. I believe providing basic medical care is a moral issue. Obamacare takes an important step towards providing coverage for all.
2. The grieving families of those who waited too long, because of lack of insurance, to get early symptoms checked, and now, at late stages, face severe illness or death.
I had the personal experience of practicing medicine in New Zealand for three months during the winter of 2010-2011, and learned that overall their system worked quite well, and that everyone had basic coverage. If a person wanted additional insurance, and could afford it, they could purchase it. The government negotiated with pharmaceutical companies for the best prices for their citizens, something Medicare is not allowed to do. Can you imagine how many billions of dollars that would save? They also have an accident compensation system to compensate its citizens if they suffer an accident or medical malpractice injury without having to file a lawsuit.
If we are to afford a healthcare system in the future, it must change. It needs to be universal, primary care based, cover wellness care and proven health screenings. It must cover best practices, and stamp out fraud and abuse. If you have Internet access, you can read more about the 12 healthcare rights and the Affordable Care Act at www.healthcare.gov. A vote for Obama and Obamacare takes a necessary first step towards sustainable healthcare.