To The Editor:
As I watch the field of Republican presidential hopefuls try to “out-tea-party” one another, I’m struck by their willingness to sacrifice the well-being of our nation, and especially our young people and senior citizens, in their overzealous attacks on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I’m particularly offended by the recent attacks on women’s health care—rehashing the legitimacy of birth control and reproductive rights. I wonder how and why we are being asked to tolerate such medieval thinking in America in 2012.On the two year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, it feels like the right time to remind people of what we wanted, fought for, and won, despite vicious attacks from extreme elements of the Republican party, (I leave out traditional Republicans who tend to be more moderate in their views). The Affordable CareAct, signed March 23, 2010, enables government to really go after Medicare fraud, a goal with wide bipartisan support prior to President Obama’s efforts aimed at overhauling our health care system. The result was that the federal government recovered $8 billion (yes, with a “b”) through fraud prevention and enforcement, and federal prosecutions of those involved in Medicare fraud have increased 75 percent over 2008. The program has saved my parents and their friends of the same generation an enormous amount of money on prescription drugs and eliminated the “donut hole” that was costing them so much more. The savings are over $2.1 billion nationally. The preventative care doctor visits now covered under ACA mean that health issues can be detected and treated sooner. And on top of all this, Medicare Advantage premiums dropped 7 percent from 2011 to 2012, while enrollment increased during the same period. Another critical benefit: my stepdaughter, who graduated college last year and who is working as an intern for a not-for-profit, would have had to obtain private insurance after her last birthday without passage of the Affordable Care Act. Parents whose kids are having a hard time finding employment in this market might want to ask themselves how they would deal with uninsured 23-, 24-,25- and 26 year olds when the Republican candidates are lobbying for a budget that ends Medicare. The fact that pre-existing conditions may no longer be used as a reason to deny insurance to an individual makes this act meaningful to thousands of people who would otherwise be unable to survive and support their families even with gainful employment.The bottom line is that this is truly a happy anniversary, and we shouldn’t allow anyone to take away these important and much needed rights and benefits. Our kids, and our parents, deserve better.
John Paul Nicolaides
Red Bank, NJ
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