Letter to the Editor: Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

The Republican Congress has begun the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often called Obamacare, supposedly to save money. As a physician, I am concerned that this will backtrack on the progress we’ve made to provide all in our country with health care insurance. In Wisconsin alone, 400,000+ people will lose coverage; there will be no subsidies, no tax credits, no coverage under a parent’s plan, no reduced Medicare prescription drug costs. Once again insurance might be denied because of an existing condition, retirement savings could be lost to pay for uncovered medical bills. Less coverage will mean fewer jobs in the health care sector (a significant employer in Door County where I live). We will all see the negative effects as these losses spread through the community as a result of lost wages and purchasing power.

In my cardiology practice before I could see firsthand the benefit of preventive care; treating conditions before they evolved into established heart disease. When people lack insurance, they often are ignorant of these existing conditions or are forced to delay treatment until an emergency forces them to the hospital door. The positive results of preventive care are well documented; this is a benefit of the ACA.

I hear about the Republican proposals to offer “block grants” and vouchers to individuals to make up for the loss of the ACA. To me, this sounds like an effort to present a confusing array which will cost more and provide less. Insurance companies will profit while, once again, people have few, if any, benefits.

I encourage our representatives in Congress to join together to provide affordable, accessible health care. Expand Medicare to a system that works for all. If you agree with me, please contact your legislators and let them know.

Ron Klimaitis, MD

Ellison Bay, Wis.