To the editor:
Isn’t it nice for Gerald Mahieu that he has the luxury of lecturing us about The Affordable Care Act from the perspective of someone with the means to purchase “Cadillac” health-care coverage (letters, the Times, Thursday, Nov. 7)?
I suspect the more than 40 million people who the legislation will protect with basic insurance have a slightly different perspective.
It may be true that Mr. Mahieu will be one of the 12 to 15 million individually insured folks who will no longer have access to the exact same plan they bought into last year. It may also be true that Mr. Mahieu will have to pay more for a comparable plan his insurance company offers him.
In keeping with Mr. Mahieu’s car analogy, while the 5 percent of “Cadillac” policy owners like him have to live with a model that doesn’t have tinted windows and an iPhone charger so that lots of new “Buick” owners can benefit, I’ll bet the other 95 percent of Americans are Okay with that.
Mr. Mahieu is facing circumstances that prompt many Americans to say: Welcome to the party, pal.
For years, American workers receiving coverage via their workplace have seen their premiums go up, their plan options fluctuate, their insurance company change and their employer’s share in the cost of the plan (if any) diminish.
These are the peccadillos that vex us, yet don’t amount to much when you require $1 million in clinical care, as Mr. Mahieu apparently did. It ain’t perfect, but at least we’re covered. Which is more than a whopping 13 percent of Americans could say until the ACA came along. At worst, the ACA has elevated an embarrassing reality of American society from Byzantine to humane.
No one — even Mr. Mahieu’s super villain, President Obama, has said the ACA is perfect. I do find it odd, however, how little people are talking about three things it does accomplish for all Americans.
First, it ensures no American can be denied coverage based upon a pre-existing condition, nor will anyone be subjected to a lifetime coverage cap. Secondly, it makes maternity coverage a minimum standard. And, those Americans most down on their luck as well as young people under 26 are eligible for subsidies of their new ACA insurance premiums —just like those lucky enough to be in the workforce often receive from our employer.
If a society is judged by how it treats its least fortunate members (is there any better measure?), it’s difficult to argue that the ACA won’t become one of our better angels.
Pew Avenue, Gloucester