USA TODAY Editorial: If you Have to Buy Health Insurance, What Will You Get?

Posted on by Karina

The Affordable Care Act signed into law this year includes landmark health insurance reforms to protect young adults, the middle class, women, and seniors. Despite the clear benefits of health insurance reform, Republican leaders are standing with insurance companies and want to repeal the Patient's Bill of Rights which protects Americans from discrimination when they need it most–when they get sick or have a pre-existing condition.

An editorial in USA TODAY yesterday about the Affordable Care Act asks the question “what will you get for your money?” and explains the “short answer is medical security and peace of mind”:

Even if you lost your job, you’d have guaranteed insurance coverage. The obnoxious practice of raising rates dramatically for people who get sick would be banned. So would insurance companies’ habit of denying coverage to people with existing conditions.

All this is possible only if everyone is insured, spreading the risk and cost. The price is that people would have to do the responsible thing: protect themselves rather than wait until disaster strikes, potentially bankrupting their families and forcing them onto public assistance. People could opt for a minimal plan (or hundreds of other plans), but they couldn’t ride free on everyone else…

Odd as the notion might sound, before health reform became so polarizing, an insurance mandate was a conservative value– an alternative that preserved private insurance rather than resorting to a government-run system like Medicare. Why should the rest of us have to pay when someone who refuses to buy insurance goes to the emergency room? Many conservatives were all for requiring these “free riders” to pay their own way…

Requiring medical insurance is no threat to Americans’ independence. It’s a responsible way to help guarantee that fewer of us die without coverage or go bankrupt with it.

Read the full editorial»

Learn more about the Patient's Bill of Rights»

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