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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • OUR VIEW Health care law is here, learn more

  • There has been a lot of talk since the national election about health care.

    Specifically, how the Affordable Care Act is going to impact individuals, businesses and others.

    Commonly known as "Obamacare," the full implementation of the act will take place starting in 2014.
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  • There has been a lot of talk since the national election about health care.
    Specifically, how the Affordable Care Act is going to impact individuals, businesses and others.
    Commonly known as "Obamacare," the full implementation of the act will take place starting in 2014.
    Parts of the act have already been put in place, including having children up to age 26 on their parents' insurance plan, closing the "donut hole" in Medicare and allowing people with pre-existing conditions to get insurance.
    These are major steps and have generally been received well by people.
    But the big changes are coming, including the chance for individuals to purchase health care plans with government assistance.
    One of the issues which has surfaced since the election is the continuing dialogue from some who want to repeal or eliminate the plan.
    What must be stressed here is with the outcome of the election, that simply isn't going to happen. The plan may be tweaked over time, but it is not going to be eliminated. It's here to stay.
    With this in mind, that must be the focus of everyone going forward.
    Like it, hate it, don't know much about it, that doesn't matter at this point. We are all going to have to deal with it and everyone should start to get themselves educated.
    One of the major issues is the health insurance "exchanges" being established on a state-by-state basis. Some states have already indicated they will not participate in that aspect of the program.
    It won't matter because if they don't, the federal government will establish those exchanges.
    Pennsylvania lawmakers have yet to make that decision. It would seem prudent for the state to go ahead and establish an exchange. One way or another, it has to be done and it would seem logical the state should have some control over what happens.
    Another major part of the plan has to do with the health care delivery system.
    This part of the plan gets overlooked a lot but could have the biggest impact.
    The delivery system is just that — how health care services are provided. It can include everything from the number of tests required to efficiencies in billing and paperwork.
    It's also supposed to change the way doctors do business. The plan is for doctors to focus on quality instead of quantity. This could be a good thing.
    Under the current system, doctors are many times pressured to see as many patients as possible in order to receive compensation. Just how the new system will work remains to be seen, but it could mean even better care if doctors aren't pressured to hustle us through like cattle.
    Page 2 of 2 - We shall see.
    There are many other components of the health care law which will impact everyone.
    It could mean that some people will be able to get health insurance cheaper than in their current plans. It could mean some people will be able to actually afford health care insurance. It could mean lives are saved.
    But it's all unknown.
    What is known, however, is it is something we all must deal with and it will be here before you know it.
    Everyone should take some time and study this new law. All of us will be impacted one way or another. That means we all should get ourselves educated so we have some idea of what is coming.
    Health care is something which all of us must deal with at some point in our lives. We certainly are part of it when we are born and many of us deal with it just before we die.
    In between, most of us have had that broken arm or a bad case of the flu and we rely on the health care system to heal us of our medical problems.
    That part will not change.
    People are going to continue to get sick, get injured and have cancer. That is part of the human experience.
    If dealing with those things can become easier with this new law, that's great. The jury is certainly still out on how it will function, or won't function for that matter.
    But the bottom line is the health care law is here to stay and it's something we must simply acknowledge and deal with as time passes.
    Hopefully, it will be for the greater good. The more people get involved, the more likely that will happen.

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