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2 edward batesIt appears Congress will likely not pass any legislation this year on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The two leading parties are at odds as to how to come together and the majority party appears not to agree on the magnitude of the change. That being said, it appears that at some point action will have to occur in order for ACA to continue forward. It is a failed law and is only surviving due to subsidies to the insurance companies for their losses.

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Once those stop, the law will collapse. One remarkable fact is that this year, the uninsured rate nationally hit its lowest point in ten years at 12.9 percent. The only problem with that is 12.9% is really not remarkable because the uninsured rate in 2008 was 14.3, two years before ACA took effect. Wow, a trillion dollar law, that has turned the healthcare world upside down; it was supposed to be affordable and did not achieve it's two primary goals. Individual health plan premiums have skyrocketed since 2010, and the number of uninsured have not appreciably dropped. In fact, the uninsured rate was at 17.1%, it's highest point in the last 10 years in 2013, three years after the law took effect, and didn't start dropping again until the second quarter of 2014.

There is no question in my mind that action has to be taken to help structure an affordable healthcare system (for tax payers) that will provide patients, doctors, and insurance companies, the means to obtain affordable and effective health care. The nation cannot afford to add another entitlement to the already financially struggling Medicare and Social Security laws that exist. Single payers systems, like the one Bernie Sanders has introduced, are an easy psychological fix suggesting just let the government take it over and you won't have to worry about premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expense. Just ask Bernie how it will be paid for and how much it will cost. Many states have proposed single payer systems with the most recent being California and Colorado, and all but Vermont (Bernie's home state) failed when the proposed bills talked about expense and payment. Also, no single payer system (socialized medicine) has effectively worked worldwide. Either the bureaucracy is to much to deal with, creating long lines and incompetent government decision making, or the cost is enormous for the tax payers of those counties. England's National Health Tax that pays for their nationalized medical program is at 20% in 2017 and climbing. That is in addition to the sales tax or value added tax (VAT) of 20% on almost all goods and services, in addition to other taxes such income tax, etc... In the Scandinavian countries, taxes are so high for their social programs and government costs that getting folks to work a full year without tax disincentives is a real challenge.

I do believe there are drafts of health insurance plans just sitting in our government, yet to be shared, that could dramatically change our health care challenges and head our country in the right direction. However, the discourse in Washington prevents anything meaningful from happening at this time. I suggest that if you as a voter feel trapped with the current state of affairs in health care, become informed and cast your votes going forward for those candidates that represent the direction you believe we should head. I am going to do just that. I hope that you have been somewhat enlightened by me sharing my opinion on ACA updates over the past couple of years. I promise to move on to other topics until something significant happens, or there is news worthy to report on this topic. Here's hoping that won't be too long from now.

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