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The rush to fix Obamacare

Our view: It’s unfortunate it took this long to address health care issue

Now that the Obama administration is out of office, public officials at both the federal and state levels are rushing to fix what is commonly referred to as Obamacare, which has a formal title of the Affordable Care Act.
The highly touted Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed in a flurry of confusion by the federal government in 2010, has not delivered on its promise of providing affordable health care.
There were some favorable stipulations in the act, such as the ability of parents to keep their adult children on their health-care plans until the children were in their 20s, and the provision that no one could be denied health insurance because of existing medical conditions.
And, while we are loathe to have the government tell us that we need to buy insurance (or anything, for that matter), requiring people to have health insurance isn’t entirely a bad thing, either.
Unfortunately, we pay for the uninsured one way or another — either through government programs or increased medical costs for ourselves as medical care providers seek to cover the cost of “free” care for the uninsured.
At least this way, if people are required to have health insurance, they have to put some money in the pot, even if their premiums are subsidized in part by the government.
However, the biggest promise of the ACA — to make care affordable — went unfulfilled, not just in the MNSure and the federal exchange, but for all of us. Each of us who carries health insurance has seen substantial premium increases in the past decade — or even longer — and we can no longer afford to take the yearly hits. People are postponing retirements and taking part-time jobs to pay for their health care. That just isn’t right.
And you know something isn’t working when Gov. Mark Dayton says it isn’t working. Dayton, who typically espouses the Democratic Party’s ideals with passion, said toward the end of 2016 that Obamacare, and the state’s program, MNSure, just aren’t cutting it.
The governor was leading up to some proposed fixes when he collapsed during his State of the State address Monday night. Our local legislators, state Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen and state Sen. Scott Newman, assure us that are steps are being taken to reform the system. Reform, or even elimination, of the Affordable Care Act is an early target of new President Donald Trump.
Evidently, people on both sides of the aisle realize that our health-care system needs healing. Let’s hope they can come together to accomplish that.
— L.C.