GALION — The Affordable Care Act was passed during President Barack Obama’s term with a lot of fanfare.
But there were also a lot of questions about what good it would do; who would would benefit from it; who was going to pay for it, and how; and what was actually included in the bill passed by Congress that made Obamacare the law.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan attended a public forum Monday at the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce to discuss efforts by the Republican-led Congress to change or repeal the ACA.
The meeting was attended by civic and business leaders in and about Galion; hospital administrators; healthcare administrators who help companies and individual get into the healthcare packages that will work best for them; and individuals who are frustated by some aspects of Obamacare, but happy with other parts.
The only consensus coming out of the meeting is that changing or repealing all — or parts — of the ACA is going to make a lot of people unhappy. It also is going to please many people, and it is going to leave others just as frustrated with the high cost of premiums that many insist they can’t continue to pay.
Jordan backs a plan that drastically cuts back on some of the programs Obamacare provides. Those cuts are necessary to lower the cost of premiums. But he also wants to cut back on rules and regulations and paperwork that takes too much time and costs too much money as another way to trim costs. He also wants to tackle the high prices of pharmaceuticals and other things that all play into raising the costs of insurance premiums.
His ideas include removing mandates for healthcare coverage, implementing a true market place model for choosing an insurance plan and allowing interstate shopping. All would result in more competition between health care providers, thus lowering prices.
But mostly he is against “one-size-fits-all” program that are the basis of Obamacare.
“Policies that cover everything are not needed,” Jordan said. “Those policies drive up the cost of all policies. To make folks pay for things they don’t need doesn’t make sense.”
Jerry Morasko, CEO of Avita Health Care, is concerned a new health care plan will include programs that are changed little from the ACA already in place.
“Obamacare in a different form is not a fix,” he said.
He also fears compromises in Congress will dilute any changes being implemented.
“If it is going to be changed, it needs to be done right,” Morasko said. “Compromise, just for the sake of compromise, will not be effective.”
He is not backing a plan by current Majority Leader Paul Ryan that he says doesn’t go far enough as far as changes that will truly make a difference.
Creating an insurance marketplace is paramount to Jordan’s plan.
“I think Americans have forgotten what a marketplace actually looks like when it comes to health care,” he said. “There are marketplaces when it comes to buying cars, or homes or just about anything else. But not with healthcare. It would add some transparency and that’s something that’s needed when someone else is paying the bills.”
He also said it’s only natural that when the government gives away benefits and programs and health care for free, it only encourages people to keep getting those programs for free.
“We don’t equate success with simply having more people sign up for a for government programs,” Jordan said of the Obama’s apparent definition of success.
He envisions a kind of tough love that allows people in need to get needed help and services, but also sets time limits and makes it necessary for those same people to take steps to help their own situations. If not, they will lose funding.
“The more you give away, the more you are going to have to keep giving away,” he said. “People aren’t going to pay for something if they can get it for free.’
There was also talk about funding cuts to preservation of the Great Lakes and efforts to cut down on dangerous algae blooms in the Great Lakes and other bodies of water in Ohio.
Jordan understands the need, but insists those needs have to be matched to the dismal state the government is in because of the national dept it continues to acquire.
“That is going to be a consideration in every thing we do,” he said.
Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or story ideas.