No American should be without health care

Published 1:12 am Wednesday, November 20, 2013

President Obama’s announcement this past week that the administration will allow insurance companies to keep individual customers on their existing plans for an additional year, even if the plans don’t meet the law’s standards, was welcome news for thousands of citizens who were caught up in the tangled and uncertain web of health care reform.

Although the extension was needed the reality is it’s only delaying what is certain to be an epic jousting of political ideologies in the future, perhaps as early as next year. One thing is certain: The rollout of the new system, which was set to have been fully implemented in January, has been nothing short of disastrous, bordering even on embarrassing for the administration.

Beginning with the crash of the health care website,, the follies included the president’s inability to keep his original promise that citizens would be allowed to keep their existing insurance plans, as insurance companies sent out cancellation letters to customers whose policies did not meet the new law’s standards. His words will certainly be used as fodder during the upcoming mid-term elections and may even be historically compared to then-president George Bush’s promise of “No new taxes” in 1988.

Indeed, most agree that the current health care system is flawed and screams for a major overhaul. But reaching consensus on the solution is mired in political partisanship, resulting in a symbolic poisonous IV dripping from the arm of the rank-and-file American patient.

Conservatives, not surprisingly, flogged Obamacare from the beginning. The plan has survived numerous repeal attempts by Republicans, a government shutdown in which it was used as the wedge of negotiation, and even a Supreme Court decision.

But as the setbacks have continued to mount, even Democrats are beginning to publicly express their concerns toward the current version. Perhaps they finally had a chance to read the entire act, which many admit they did not when approving its passage

The Affordable Care Act, in its current form, is not the answer, yet neither is allowing any American to be without health care. Somewhere in the gulf of political mistrust that is splintering this country lies the answer.

Politicians must use this unexpected window of opportunity to shelve their own agendas and sit at the bargaining table to craft a solution that will best serve the health care needs of all Americans, not just the wealthy few who actually will be able to afford quality health insurance.

It’s the only way the patient will survive.