What a great day in the history of the United States. The decision of the Supreme Court June 28 on the fate of the Affordable Care Act delighted me to no end.
The night before I had been thoroughly distraught and downhearted. I anticipated the worst. I didnt expect much from this particular court, which is responsible for the disastrous Citizens United decision.
Chief Justice John Roberts repaired his reputation by casting the decisive 5-4 vote for the ACA.
We have already enjoyed some features of the ACA, such as not being denied insurance on the basis of pre-existing conditions or allowing children up to the age of 26 to stay on their parents insurance. Senior citizens need not worry about the doughnut hole of drug costs or the reduction of the profits of the health insurance companies.
ACA is by no means perfect. Much more remains to be done. I had an opportunity to observe the tortuous debate that preceded the creation of ACA in 2010.
The opposition was stubborn and effective, and thanks to it the result was far from perfect. The unusually high cost of medical care in the U.S. as compared with other developed nations could be reduced in numerous ways.
The role of insurance companies in medical care financing should be eliminated. A single payer system in the fashion of Medicare would lower the administrative costs by 2 percent to 4 percent. Not-for-profit hospitals could be another cost-cutter, as would a system of unified, nationwide computerization of medical records and/or individual smart cards that would contain the medical record of an individual.
Much misinformation about ACA has led many people to oppose it. One popular falsehood is the claim that ACA plans to cut Medicare by $500 billion in 10 years. The truth is that the $500 billion refers to cutting fraud that has been plaguing the system from its inception.
There is much that patients themselves can do to cut the cost of their medical care. Lets take a hold of ourselves, fight obesity, increase exercise and stop smoking.
And at old age, lets not burden the medical system with less important tests. Lets admit that we arent meant to live forever. For my part, the time for mammograms and stress tests is over.
Maire T. Zakrzewski