Affordable Care Act lurches forward, deadline looms - abc27 WHTM

Affordable Care Act lurches forward, deadline looms

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Officially, Pennsylvania doctors love the Affordable Care Act's "concept" of providing health insurance for everyone.

They know the topic has political ramifications, but they keep their message and their reasoning as simple and apolitical as possible.

"We know that if you have insurance you're less sick and you die less," said Dr. John MacLeod, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. "So we're supportive of anything that gets us in that direction."

Of course, the road to achieving the ACA was paved with glitch-filled websites, frustrated and confused customers. Things have improved, somewhat.

"The process is working better," said John DeLorenzo of PinnacleHealth. "Better, but it's not a hundred percent by any stretch of the imagination."

Aside from computers, cost is also an issue. When premiums, co-pays and deductibles are factored in, many say it's the un-affordable care act.

"I think there's a big sticker shock to come for many people who are being driven to the exchange," said Brent Ennis of the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians, who fears out of pocket expenses will actually deter people from visiting their doctors. "That sort of defeats the purpose."

DeLorenzo agrees that even with government subsidies, many of the insurance company plans are too pricey for the people who need them most.

"For a family of four even the lowest plans, you're still talking $450-$500 a month," DeLorenzo said.

But it's perhaps unfair to blame insurance companies for higher-than-hoped-for premiums. They were forced to provide government-mandated minimum benefits without knowing the condition of the customers who are buying in. Are they younger and healthier or older and sicker?

"You can't deny someone just because they have medical issues," said Aji Abraham of Capital Blue Cross. "There's a cost associated with that. And there's new taxes and fees. All of this combines to drive up prices more than they were last year."

There have been problems rolling out the Affordable Care Act - lots of 'em. There have been lots of vocal critics, too. But it's the law of the land. The Supreme Court didn't block it and Congress failed to repeal it, so come January 1 all Americans must have health insurance.

Liberal state senator Daylin Leach wants to tell all of those conservative critics that in the long run the ACA will be a good thing.

"More people are gonna be covered, it's gonna cost less and it's gonna solve a lot of the problems of people who couldn't find coverage," Leach said. "The website will be a distant memory. It was frustrating, but we need to move forward and implement this law. I get the sense there are people rooting against the law. Once it's passed we should all be rooting for it to succeed."

For the next several weeks, abc27 will take an in-depth look at every aspect of the Affordable Care Act and how its rollout is affecting the Midstate. We hope to help you navigate through it's often confusing components.

If you have questions or concerns about the ACA rollout, we'd like to hear from you on Facebook.com/abc27news.


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