Letter: Obamacare not all negative

There are plenty of negative stories in the news about the Affordable Care Act. There are claims people are having their insurance “canceled” and “forced”into higher-priced plans. Actually, these individual policies are simply not being renewed when they expire; people are not being dropped suddenly from their insurance. What they must do is buy a different plan when theirs expires and can do so, usually for less money and better coverage, at Healthcare.gov.

And while Healthcare.gov had a terrible rollout, the private contractors who built the site have fixed most of the problems, and it can now efficiently and stably connect U.S. citizens to private insurance. If you are searching for an individual plan and do not trust the website because of security concerns, you may purchase a plan through an insurance agent. You may find a plan you like better that way. And because all the plans on the website are offered by private companies, those companies should be able to offer you the same or a similar plan.

Furthermore, while there are many working poor in Louisiana who will not benefit from the Medicaid expansion, please keep in mind that that is not the doing of our president or this law. Most who still cannot qualify for a subsidy or Medicaid do not qualify because Gov. Bobby Jindal refused the Medicaid expansion. Tens of thousands of Louisiana citizens are being kept from coverage because of this decision. This expansion is paid in full until 2017 by the federal government, costing the state nothing. After that, the state would begin to help with the cost, but the federal government will always cover at least 90 percent of it.

Also, Gov. Jindal dismantling the Charity Hospital system over the past few years has nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act. This action will continue to hamper health care access for the aforementioned poor in our state, as it currently does. Recently a writer to The Advocate erroneously blamed Sen. Mary Landrieu for the loss of this system. The dismantling of this system was on the state level, not because of Sen. Landrieu or the Affordable Care Act.

Finally, Sen. David Vitter sent several emails concerning a “congressional exemption” from the Affordable Care Act. In truth, as of the first, all members of Congress and their staff lost federal health insurance and have instead received a stipend that they must use to buy private health insurance from the Affordable Care Act exchange or they lose this stipend. This works similarly to any voucher program. In the end, health care access for the working poor does not have the best outlook in our state right now, but it is important to keep in mind that this has nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act and everything to do with our Republican governor’s decisions.

Michael Norris

LSU student

Baton Rouge