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 – The day Tiffany Abentroth stood up before a thousand and more Trump-loving Republicans, she knew the GOP blessing was not within reach. She wasn’t even nervous about it. Still a Marine Corps staff sergeant, she squared…

Last week we talked about my lack of photographic skills and then what the heck am I going to do with all of these bad pictures that I take. Storage options for those pictures continues this week:RAIDAnother storage option is a…

Wednesday, April 25, 9pm-howlingThe Aquarium, 226 Broadway, FargoYou may have heard their sick beats on 95.9 lpfm on Friday's from 5pm-midnight. Now you can dance your pants off in the presence of the minds behind ”The Riverside…

According to Greek mythology Hades is to blame for the Earth’s mournful state of winter. The story involves Persephone the goddess of nature and Hades the god of the underworld in a classic caper of obsession, abduction, and…

Does That Old-Time Religion Signal The End Of Rational Thought?An incident about gender identity in the Maryland Legislature last week magnified a microcosm of what we are going through in the United States about religion in the…

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…

All About Food

​Oysters

by HPR Staff

By Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comAs a North Dakota native, raw oysters are just not a food staple that I think about. We are about as far from the coasts as we can get and we have a backyard full of tasty local cuisine, like walleye…

Record Store Day is all about music artists and fans celebrating “the culture of the independently owned record store.” A variety of unique and special releases are pressed for Record Store Day and those are only distributed to…

Leveraging whatever name-brand clout it might carry with the target demographic, “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare” -- the onscreen title for the pre and post-credit sequences -- won’t make the kind of impact previously enjoyed by…

There are so many cool places to be in Austin during the South by Southwest Festival -- like the Flatstock Market, which displays the works of the world’s top gig poster artists. The show features posters of varying styles,…

By Nathan Roybardsdream@gmail.comYou are absolutely right. The title is not “To be or not to be” from the famous Shakespeare soliloquy in "Hamlet." I won’t be talking about Shakespeare particularly. I will expound the…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

I consider myself an avid wine drinker, but I recently found out there are more than 10,000 varieties of grapes, and about 1,500 of those are used to make commercial wines. I don’t know about you, but I could probably name about…

A few months ago, I was introduced to the concept of probiotics and how they work with our bodies. I would never have guessed the change that occurred after their introduction into my system.I always considered myself a fairly…

By Melissa Martin melissamartincounselor@live.com “I’m sorry” are two vital words to be used in relationships because human beings are imperfect people living in imperfect environments. Ask yourself the following…

Calm was the day in late JulyAnd bright was the sun across the skyBut inside his chest the calm had brokenGovernor Sinner had started croakin’.I laughed the first time I read that, and I’m still laughing every time I think…