Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Donaldcare vs. Obamacare

| Letters to the Editor | June 16th, 2017

To the editor:

I read the article by Jon Godfread, the current North Dakota Insurance Commissioner, in the May 25th issue of the Reader. He used the space allotted to him to to lambast the Affordable Care Act, while giving a more or less positive spin to the recent Republican bill called the American Health Care Act (ACHA), a proposal that was passed by the House of Representatives only, and by a slim majority. His theme was to have “an honest and truthful discussion regarding what the ACHA is and what it is not”.Perhaps I can submit this piece to give a different point of view.

As an aside, it’s interesting that he, like most Republicans, insists on using the derogatory term “Obamacare” when referring to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in his article. Such an op-ed piece published under the auspices of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner would imply that his opinion is based on a certain expertise and “above the fray”. But I think that his analysis is very partisan because it omits many of the flaws in the bill passed by members of his own political party. To avoid the alphabet soup problem, I think it’s easier to refer to the proposed repeal of the current law of the land as “DonaldCare”.

Is there anything more we might want to know in our honest and truthful discussion of the AHCA (i.e. “DonaldCare”)? Since nothing in life is free, the benefits of the ACA (the current law of the land) have a number of funding mechanisms. A big one is via federal income tax. Now, most people in ND would not be aware of this particular tax, because it does not kick in until you’ve made over $200,000 a year as an individual. The levy is under one cent on the dollar, so if you’ve made $300,000, you’ve forked over about $900 to Uncle Sam. Then you have to work with your accountant to minimize your tax liability on the other $99,100. But “DonaldCare” abolishes this tax. The program is defunded, and of course premiums rise, and insurance companies head for the exits. Haven’t we seen this before? It’s called a tax cut for the rich.

One true success of the current ACA is funding for Medicaid expansion. But “DonaldCare” cuts this. Any North Dakota officeholder who backs this bill is turning down federal dollars earmarked for Medicaid that would help residents of his or her state. Go figure.

How about an opinion from outside North Dakota? The New England Journal of Medicine is about as highly respected as they come in the medical world.

In health care policy analysis, it’s far superior to the Wall Street Journal opinion page.I’ll quote from an article that recently appeared on April 17 of this year entitled “The Art of Repeal – Republicans’ Health Care Reform Muddle.”

A key passage states “The CBO [Congressional Budget Office} report on the ACHA [the Republican plan], which projected that it would increase the uninsured population by 24 million, was devastating. It exposed the fact that repealing Obamacare meant not improving American medical care, as Republicans promised, but making insurance less affordable, less comprehensive, and less secure for millions of Americans.

For me, this evidence is that what “DonaldCare” is, is a bad bill. Hopefully it will die in the Senate. As someone who has worked in health care for over thirty years, my opinion is that we need to keep what we currently have and improve it.

Eventually, our goal should be single-payer, universal health care, for all Americans.

-Joseph Sleckman, MD

Fellow, American College of Physicians

Member, First District Medical Society

Recently in:

FARGO – Ellen Chaffee wanted to know how much lobbyists were spending to influence North Dakota legislators. Online searches ended in dead ends. As the founders of North Dakotans for Public Integrity, Chaffee and Dina Butcher…

by Ryan Jankeryanjanke@hpr1.comZero Gravity Alternative Fitness will present their annual Halloween showcase this Saturday at their studio in south Fargo. The event, aptly named Poletergeist II, is a chance for students and staff…

Wednesday, October 24, 6:30 - 8 p.m.Atonement Lutheran Church, 4601 University Drive S., FargoBring the kids for candy and fun! This family-friendly halloween event has fun for everyone! There will be trunk or treating outside, a…

This weekend I was showing a friend of mine some Fargo hotspots. He was visiting from the West Coast, so naturally I was playing up the Midwest’s many charms. He mentioned that one thing that differed from the West Coast was the…

Gadfly

Goodbye Democracy!

by Ed Raymond

How today’s “christians” hammered the nails into the hands and feet of christHistorian Christopher Browning, who has spent a lifetime studying the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and the World War II era of Europe, has expressed…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

by Ryan Jankeryan.janke78@gmail.com The scent of sauerkraut will be in the air next Wednesday when the Wishek Association of Commerce hosts the 93rd Annual Sauerkraut Day festival in Wishek, ND.The city of Wishek is situated 30…

We started our interview with JBOT, Captured! By Robots front man, captive and creator by playing a small bout of phone tag. You see, his internet went out and that sent his mind racing. Once we touched base, he said, “For a…

Damien Chazelle’s fourth feature follows the trajectory common to the careers of many ambitious and talented filmmakers honored with Academy Awards: the dissipation of rawness and experimentation as budgets, expectations, and…

I came to Mineral Point, Wisconsin for the art. The tiny town among the rolling hills about 50 miles southwest of Madison is home to just 2,491 souls and 25 art galleries and studios. Any community with that much creative energy…

by Stella Mehlhoffstellamehlhoff@gmail.com“Our mission is to invigorate civic conversation through intimate and transformative storytelling.” This statement posted on Theatre B’s website and tacked to their studio wall in…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

Beer Snob

Warm up with a hot toddy

by HPR Contributor

by Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.com Fall is once again upon us. The leaves are turning, gardens have been pulled, and Summer’s heat has waned into Autumnal frosts. Along with the change of seasons comes a change of seasonal flavors.…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

There are two ways to look at the recommendation of Administrative Law Judge Patrick Ward that the North Dakota Public Service Commission dismiss the complaint against that (expletive deleted) Meridian Energy for failing to get a…