Our lives are at stake

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

The Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice es­ti­mates the num­ber of unin­sured Amer­i­cans would in­crease by 17 mil­lion next year alone if the Af­ford­able Care Act (ACA)—also known as Oba­macare—were to be scratched with­out a new health-care plan. It would rise to 27 mil­lion in 2020, and then to 32 mil­lion in 2026.

The ACA is nei­ther per­fect nor the end-all so­lu­tion to health-care re­form, but Arkansas has made con­sid­er­able progress since its im­ple­men­ta­tion. Four years ago, a bi­par­ti­san coali­tion in the state Leg­is­la­ture worked with thenGov. Mike Beebe to cre­ate the pri­vate op­tion—now called Arkansas Works. As a re­sult, hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple have ac­cess to health care. Our unin­sured rate fell from 22.5 per­cent in 2013 to 10.2 per­cent in 2016, one of the largest re­duc­tions in the na­tion.

Ear­lier this year, Sen. Tom Cot­ton told Meet the Press “it would not be the right path” to re­peal the ACA with­out a plan mov­ing for­ward. Nev­er­the­less, he and Sen. John Booz­man sup­port Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell’s plan to “re­peal now, re­place later.” Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Talk Busi­ness and Pol­i­tics/Hen­drix Col­lege sur­vey, a ma­jor­ity of Arkansans dis­ap­prove of this ap­proach.

A few months ago, Pres­i­dent Trump said, “no­body knew that health care could be so com­pli­cated.” Mr. Pres­i­dent, most Amer­i­cans know—and have known for a long time—that health care is a com­plex is­sue. Health care is about peo­ple—not the leg­isla­tive vic­tory that the White House so des­per­ately craves. Count­less lives are at stake.

VIC­TOR J. RO­JAS

De Queen

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