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SPOTLIGHT
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We deserve better

Published on -7/17/2012, 9:44 AM

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We deserve better

After First District Rep. Tim Huelskamp voted once again to kill the Affordable Health Care Act, it seems a good time to look at the act itself and ask why he and his Republican friends seem intent on overturning this benefit for the American people who both need and indeed want adequate access to health care.

The congressman recently wrote "Comments" for the Rush County News explaining the merits of his votes against President Obama's health care law. The most recent ruling of the Supreme Court let the law stand as legal under the provision of Congress' capacity to tax or enforce a penalty.

Huelskamp, a self-described member of the tea party, writes the ruling on that bill on June 28 "will stand as a definitive date in the advance of government tyranny." This is typical overstatement which reinforces the fear of many Americans the act will "end health care as we know it." Fear-mongering has become a conservative staple and unworthy of our representatives.

When Huelskamp writes "millions of Americans will likely lose their health insurance plan as employers are driven out of business," he ignores the fact health care costs and insurance premiums today are harming the small business sector, and the rest of us are at the mercy of insurance companies. This speculation suggests the congressman has not really read nor attempted to understand numerous beneficial features of the act itself. In fact, insurance companies are constrained by the law that says they cannot discriminate against one of us for pre-existing conditions; that if you like your insurance plan and can afford it, then of course you can keep it in place. If not, then your employer -- if you have one -- will find or offer a satisfactory plan.

Another benefit to workers is the provision that we need not remain in jobs we do not like or that is no longer suitable just to keep the insurance. How many of us have been in that predicament? Impossible to say, but it's no longer necessary, as insurance coverage must follow you to a new job without any threat of loss.

A valuable benefit already in place allows children under 26 to remain covered by parents' insurance if he or she chooses or needs. Additionally, if a child or adult requires special health-care treatment, insurance companies may not discontinue coverage because of an artificial dollar or time limitation. Families caring for disabled elders or handicapped children will be spared medical bankruptcy as well as interruption or denial of coverage.

When the congressman cautions against the sharing of patients' electronic records among health care providers, he is behind the times. Happily, many doctors and clinics and hospitals already have such practices in place, eliminating duplicative tests and providing complete health information for the patient's best care. I can speak to the benefits of record-sharing and many of you can, too, I'm sure.

Our Kansas Republican congressmen seem to think they are the only ones in possession of "Common Sense Solutions," given how often they use that terminology. To the contrary, how commonsensical is it to disavow the work that has been done over several decades on the subject? The last thing Congress should do is start over on health care by raising taxes on the middle class and repealing the entire law. Instead, Congress should honor the fact the Supreme Court ruling underscores that the Affordable Health Care Act is the "law of the land" and establishes that it meets the legal standards established in the Constitution.

We send our congressmen to Washington to address and solve problems on our behalf, not to vote repeatedly (33 times in 18 months) to dismantle one piece of legislation. Ideologues have taken over the representative process, preventing the very topic on which many candidates ran for election -- jobs -- from ever becoming the centerpiece of discussion and solution. We deserve better. We demand better.

Mary Boone Schwindt

Timken

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