Letter to the Editor:
In his latest salvo against the Affordable Care Act, Congressman Joe Pitts argues that polls show the new health care law "may be playing a role in slow growth." He says that -- horrors! -- a Gallup poll has found 41 percent of employers had frozen hiring because of the law. (Of course, this means 59 percent had not.) Nineteen percent said they had reduced the number of their employees (which means 81 percent had not).
The Chamber of Commerce poll Pitts cites is much more pessimistic, but the Chamber of Commerce has been vociferously opposed to the new law, which makes one wonder how the questions were framed. Of course some companies have and will reduce the number of their employees, but right now it seems more probable that most will bite the bullet and give their employees this new benefit.
It's remarkable that, for all his invective here and elsewhere against the Affordable Care Act, Pitts offers no remedies. Does he think repealing the Act will solve the unemployment problem? That seems a stretch.
It's good that Pitts is concerned about job growth, but I submit that railing against a law of the land that is already beginning to have good effects is not the way to go. He says, "Businesses I've met with are confused about what is required." What is he doing to clarify the regulations and help businesses and individuals implement the new law? Saying the law is bad and adding to the confusion is not a solution.
The health care law is not evil, and Pitts is wrong at the end of his essay to imply it is. Sure, it is imperfect, as any rollout of something very new and very large is, but Pitts should be helping to work out the kinks rather than undercutting it at every opportunity. Doesn't he want to help his constituents? Surely there are uninsured people in his district; surely there are hospitals that will be relieved of the burden of providing uncompensated care once everyone is required to have insurance; surely he knows people who have already benefited from the law.
My premiums, for example, have gone down since my insurance company was required to spend 80 percent of its income on health care or refund the overage. I now get a free physical once a year and free preventive care, which will save my insurance company money in the long run. I have friends whose adult child is still insured while he gets himself established. I know people with pre-existing conditions who are waiting anxiously for the law to go into effect so they can get insurance coverage. I read in the paper about health care innovations that hospitals and doctors are introducing to bend the health care cost curve, and costs are already beginning to come down.
Rather than predicting catastrophe when this law of the land is implemented and trying to undermine it at every opportunity, Pitts should be informing his constituents of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and helping them take advantage of its provisions. Are his offices gearing up for the October enrollment period, or is he going to continue his blanket condemnation of this major initiative to bring the United States up to the standards of the rest of advanced world? Is he going to help his constituents or get in their way?