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Commentary by Enaya Hanbali
| Thursday, Jan 14, 2016

EnayaHanbaliOn Jan. 5, U.S. Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, signed the “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015,” which is an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the act that Knight supported would have cut $70 billion per year from Medicare and increased prices on health care insurance. The act also mentions that there would be a tax cut on medical devices and on certain employer-provided health coverage with premiums above specified amounts.

These tax breaks would only benefit few employers and damage the majority of local citizens who recently earned their right to have access to affordable healthcare.

The Affordable Care Act has given many benefits to many Americans nationwide, especially here in Palmdale, Santa Clarita and Simi Valley, who have suffered the consequences of not having health insurance for a long time.

Before the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies in the private sector would turn down people or charge people extra for pre-existing conditions when they were insured by them in the first place. Also, if you went to the hospital without insurance, you were forced to pay it afterward, or you ended up having your credit damaged if you couldn’t afford it. If you went to the hospital and did not pay previously, the hospital would have kicked out the suffering patient who couldn’t afford to have their poor health condition, which happens without any fault of their own.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, “under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies can’t refuse to cover you or charge you because you have a pre-existing condition.” This change is very significant in that as a nation, we stood up against health insurance companies that did not care about the well-being of the people whom they claim to insure, but instead tried to get as much money that they can profit off of their insurers.

The Department of Health and Human Services also states that a “Commonwealth Fund study that found that in 2014, fewer Americans had problems paying their medical bills or medical debt, and fewer went without care because they couldn’t afford it.” Having the sufficient funding from taxes needed from the Affordable Care Act is extremely critical for the health of everyone in our country, and we can’t afford even to cut a penny from it.

If anything, our nation would need more services provided through more acts like the Affordable Care Act. However, according to govtrack.us, President Obama vetoed the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act on Jan. 8. But that does not mean Congressman Knight might end up pushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act again.

The past few decades, there has been a decrease of employers who would give their employees health benefits in the private sector. It is starting to change in the public sector as well, when the issue of pensions arises. If our nation can’t find jobs from employers who are not willing pay for health insurance for their employees since they are working hard under them to survive and make a decent living, it is fair that we continue to increase taxes so employees would have to stop worrying about whether to go to the doctors since they can’t afford to pay their health insurance and face additional fees that arise from insurance companies that were not monitored in the past. Also, it makes up the balance that in the end that healthcare insurance is a universal right for all Americans.

Our nation needs to catch up with the rest of the developed nations that provide their workers with better health insurance benefits. We, as a nation and a community, need to be more focused on improving the quality of health care as well as the standard of living of all citizens nationwide instead of eliminating it.

 

 

Enaya Hanbali is a resident of Palmdale and the 25th Congressional District.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Some section of your argument is not true, no hospital would kick anybody with health crises out, they just could not do that, they would bill the patient and if the patient would not pay, then the government end up to pay a portion of the bill and problem solved. Now too many people against their wishes pay twice or 3 times more to compensate others. Many of those who could afford always help the needy people in different way and without forcing them to do so, BUT if the government force these people to pay by force, IT IS JUST NOT FAIR. I think everybody somehow should help those who are in need in different way in their own term and not by force.

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