Letter to the Editor: Affordable Care Act and what the GOP isn’t telling people

Staff Reports • Jan 10, 2017 at 4:15 PM

To the Editor: 

Here are some facts about the Affordable Care Act that your Republican state and federal legislators don’t want you to know.

First, some aspects of the ACA were based on a 1993 Republican bill proposed by Sen. John Chafee, of Rhode Island. His Health Equity and Access Reform Today Bill had a list of 20 co-sponsors, which included such Republicans as Minority Leader Bob Dole, R- Kan., Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and many others. Two Democrats were also co-sponsors. 

Among the similarities between the ACA and HEART include:

• an individual mandate.

• creation of purchasing pools.

• standardized benefits.

• vouchers for the poor to buy insurance.

• a ban on denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition.

Sound familiar? Republicans hate it when they’re reminded of this. The bill received no traction, and no vote was ever taken because a larger number of Republicans opposed it, but these are the facts. 

Look closer, and you’ll find that since 1989, other Republicans, as well as conservative think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, have promoted individual health insurance mandates – although they hate to be reminded of these facts.

There are a few examples at procon.org – “Pros and Cons of Controversial Issues,” last modified Feb. 9, 2012. http://healthcarereform.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004182.

Second, let’s look at the Massachusetts plan implemented by former Republican governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who also campaigned on repealing the ACA. Chapter 58, which passed in 2006, established Health Connector, a system to require individuals to obtain health insurance, although a few exceptions were allowed.

Similarities between the Massachusetts’ plan and the ACA include:

• The requirement that each individual must show evidence of coverage on their income tax return or face a tax penalty, unless coverage was deemed unaffordable by the Health Connector.

• Employers with more than 10 full-time equivalent employees must provide a “fair and reasonable contribution” to the premium of health insurance for employees. Employers who do not will be assessed an annual fair share contribution that will not exceed $295 per employee per year.

• Starting in 2007, it offered reduced benefit plans for young adults up to age 26 who do not have access to employer-based coverage.

Given these facts, it’ll be interesting to see just what plan the Republicans come up with regarding their replacement for the ACA. I mean after all, a lot of their ideas were included in the ACA, and they hate being reminded of this.

Amelia Morrison Hipps


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