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Slight majority of readers favor repeal

Rochester Business Journal
November 22, 2013

A slight majority of RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll respondents say the Affordable Care Act should be repealed. The split is much larger, however, when broken down by political affiliation.

The troubled rollout of the federal HealthCare.gov website and a backlash due to canceled insurance plans have sparked renewed debate about the Affordable Care Act.

Open enrollment began Oct. 1 on the new federal and state insurance marketplaces. By the end of the month, roughly 106,000 Americans had signed up for plans offered by the marketplaces—a much smaller number than the Obama administration had forecast. The administration has vowed to have HealthCare.gov working fully by the end of November. Health care coverage is slated to start Jan. 1, and open enrollment closes March 1, 2014.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama said last week that his administration will let health insurers extend for another year existing health plans in the individual and small-group markets that otherwise would be canceled in 2014 because they do not meet the law’s requirements to cover a slate of basic benefits. On Friday, the Republican-controlled House passed legislation allowing insurance companies to continue offering health plans to both new and existing customers through 2014, even if the plans fall short of ACA requirements.

In New York, the state’s official health plan marketplace—NY State of Health—reported Nov. 12 that since Oct. 1, 48,162 New Yorkers have been enrolled and 197,011 state residents have completed the application process and been determined eligible for health insurance plans.
Republicans in Congress have tried several times to repeal the ACA, which Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010. House Speaker John Boehner in recent days vowed to continue to push for repeal.

Among Republicans participating in this week’s poll, 65 percent said the law should be repealed, compared with 15 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of those who identified themselves as non-affiliated or enrolled in another party. The plurality of Democrats said the law should be left alone to take effect fully, compared with 8 percent of Republicans.

More than 1,050 readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted Nov. 18 and 19. Of those, 37 percent identified themselves as Republicans, 20 percent as Democrats.


What should be done with the Affordable Care Act?
The law should be repealed: 51%
The law should be changed to improve it: 28%
The law should be left alone to take effect fully: 21%

What is your political affiliation?
Democrat: 20%
Republican: 37%
Non-affiliated: 38%
Other: 6%

Among Republicans:
What should be done with the Affordable Care Act?
The law should be repealed: 65%
The law should be changed to improve it: 27%
The law should be left alone to take effect fully: 8%

Among Democrats:
What should be done with the Affordable Care Act?
The law should be repealed: 15%
The law should be changed to improve it: 37%
The law should be left alone to take effect fully: 48%

Among non-affiliated and other:
What should be done with the Affordable Care Act?
The law should be repealed: 56%
The law should be changed to improve it: 25%
The law should be left alone to take effect fully: 19%

COMMENTS:

This program is a disaster and only going to cost the taxpayers more money. I understand the intent, but it is a failure and we have been lied to continuously. The government has not shown to me that they know how to run a business, and these politicians need to be held accountable to us—the taxpayer!
—Gary M. Baker, president, Cochran, Cochran & Yale

I believe that the ACA should be implemented as is. If there are changes that need to be made to improve it, as it is implemented, then those changes should be made. I am seeing too many “changes should be made” with the sole purpose of killing the bill, not improving it.
—Steve Heveron-Smith

Please repeal Obamacare. If we think the rollout has been rough, wait till we experience the administration of it.
—Bev Dyminski

Throw it in the toilet along with the morons who created and passed it!
—Mike Masiello

Every other industrialized nation has some form of national health care. We should pick from the best and adapt it to our situation.
—Carlos Mercado

The idea makes sense. If there is to be an Affordable Care Act in the future, it should include all persons in the U.S.—including government employees. If it’s good enough for us common folk, it should be good enough for the people who supposedly represent our best interests.
—Roberta Favitta, Copier Fax Business Technologies

To pass a bill and have it signed into law by telling everyone “we must pass it in order to find out what’s in it” has got to be one of the most preposterous, dumbest and most politically motivated statements of all time. Nothing should be passed under such circumstances.
—R. Phelps, Victor

After pushing this through the House (remember Nancy Pelosi saying, “This needs to be voted in so we can go back and read it”), they had three years to get things in place, and yet they are still failing. Not to mention this "under 50 employees, over 50 employees" game they are playing with small companies!
—Steve Neelin, CEO, Quality Recruiting

If a president needs to lie to get a bill passed and then exempts the federal lawmakers and large corporate supporters, something is very wrong. The media’s lack of reporting the truth borders on criminal.
—Frank Gerham Jr., Frank 401-k Inc.

The law should be repealed and replaced with a Medicaid-for-all system. It’s more efficient, cheaper and brings better results. The only reason we are not doing this is because people feel that ideology (and profits for corporations) is more important.
—David Sutliff-Atias, Center for Disability Rights

Once we’ve worked our way through these tears and tribulations, it’s time to start thinking about a single-payer system (does the name Medicare ring a bell?). It only makes sense, and the insurance companies can compete to manage the system without their 20 percent cut and sweetheart deals with the health industry.
—John Perry Smith

The ACA act should be improved upon, not repealed. We should move to a single-payer health insurance/care system. The 16 states that have not accepted the Medicaid portion of the ACA are only hurting their own citizens, especially those who most need it. The irony is they’re just declining taxes that have already been paid by the citizens of their own state. It almost sounds like they’re saying, “We have our health insurance; if you don’t have yours, tough luck.” Remember, those people in the 16 states (who) would be eligible for the Medicaid program are now going to have to go to emergency rooms in those 16 states and use taxpayer dollars to pay for their health care. This is just plain boneheaded.
—Peter Bonenfant, Fairport

Maybe a populist referendum on the ballot could have resolved the political divide. Vote for either: (A) status quo, (B) single-payer system, (C) Obamacare, (D) reasonable compromise.
—Tom Sargent, Rochester

What do we do now is really a question. With a rollout costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, 18,000 new IRS agents collecting a paycheck to enforce a law that doesn’t work, thousands of us losing our health insurance, what do we do? Congress should be repealed. Replace every Democrat with a Republican, and every Republican with a Democrat. Send a real message to D.C.!
—R. Gibbs

I think this law is our greatest chance to get to socialism in America. Our government should be controlling everything and limiting freedom. Just look how great our schools systems are in the city of Rochester, under a 50 percent rate in graduations. What an accomplishment all because of government. I'm very excited at the opportunity to become a socialist nation. Go Canada!
—C. Bush

While we have never received a cancellation letter, I submit ours and probably most of your readers have effectively had their policies canceled. We cannot purchase the same policies we offer currently and the ones that our old policies were supposed mapped to are 25 percent to 30 percent higher in premiums. So much for "if you like it you can keep it" and you will see savings of $2,500. Scrap it and start over!
—Peter Short, J.J. Short Associates Inc., Macedon

I would rather have everyone pay something for the health care they receive instead of the current system where every working person pays for 100 percent of the uninsured.
—Stanley Hilt

This tax must be repealed. At 10,000 pages and more than 5 million words it is incomprehensible even to the idiots that wrote it. We "common folk" have no chance at understanding the Tax or its implications to our future. The "Affordable" Care act is anything but affordable. The government has forced millions of people to lose their current insurance (which was affordable and they liked) and forced people to purchase an insurance plan that is not only “un-affordable” but chaotic. And to try and do it through a website that is so overwhelmed it is nonfunctional. The cost and burden to small business will be devastating to the economy. When a government forces people to purchase something they do not want, that government is violation of the Constitution of the United States. It is time to scrap this mess and start over.
—Jeff McSpadden, McSpadden Heating and Air LLC

There is a long list of countries that don't like the United States or Americans. I wish it on them.
—Jay Birnbaum

The ACA is nothing more than another attempt by our socialist government to take over the economy. The Supreme Court legitimized it only by declaring it a tax (how else do you pay for 16,000 more IRS examiners) since the Constitution prohibits such government intrusions into commerce. It is a disaster and should be repealed. And the insurance and medical communities should take note that their current level of service is out of control and needs to be fixed.
—Jim Weisbeck, Bloomfield

At this point in time, I think the law should be left alone to take effect. Unfortunately, "fully" is not what the effect will be, as the mandate for employers has already been delayed until 2015. It is chaotic to try to backpedal now and allow people to continue with their sub-par insurance coverage. The reason plans are being discontinued is because they don't meet the basic minimum requirements for health insurance. It's like comparing apples and oranges to say that the new plans cost more than old ones that provided little coverage. Americans with these plans aren't realizing the true cost of health care, often to the detriment of all of us. In 2014 and beyond we should look at ways to improve the ACA and our health system in general. Some items for consideration should be aggressively negotiating drug and device pricing for Medicare and Medicaid (the largest purchasers of healthcare) and exploring differentials in charges from hospitals, doctors, etc. Just as an example: Why did Kate Middleton's premium, private, luxury, "red carpet" birth cost LESS than the average American's childbirth experience? Is it an effective use of healthcare dollars to have hospitals compete for patients through marketing, advertising, over-the-top luxury construction, artwork, and other schemes? We also need to consider designing a system for population health, rather than just a system for health care. Our current system is focused on medicine—not health. Also—why is healthcare different? Where are our free-market failures in healthcare? How can we fix them? How can we align expectations for coverage with the reality of what providers are charging? Why are providers charging what they're charging? Where are the costs being borne? How are lobbyists and interest groups benefiting from the status quo (an existence which we hopefully agree is unsustainable) influencing our decision-making? Where are we lacking transparency in our system? The answers are not going to come quickly or easily. The ACA wasn't designed to be the be-all, end-all for the innumerable problems with our country's health or healthcare systems. Don't treat it that way. But do give it a chance to make things different. Continuing on the current path without significant, dramatic changes is not an option. Completely free-market healthcare also isn't an option. There are too many market failures. Don't believe me? Ask a health economist. We need to try something different.
—Katie Orem

My employer requires me to have a minimum amount of automobile insurance coverage in order to be able to perform my job. I am also required to pay into Social Security and Medicaid at a level prescribed by national standards as part of my pay. The Affordable Care Act requires a standard amount of health insurance coverage to qualify in the marketplace. These standards have been developed for the benefit of all, not just those who feel like complying. Most of the medical insurance policies that are being cancelled around the country are being canceled because they do not meet the minimum standards required under the ACA. In other words, people are not adequately covered under their current policies, and most don't even know it or don't care. If they require intensive medical procedures it is you and I who pick up the tab in terms of rising medical costs. Is that fair to you and me? I think not. If people are allowed to keep these inadequate policies will this continue to drive up the cost of insurance for you and me? Bet on it. President Obama misspoke (notice I say misspoke not lie because I do not think it was a calculated risk) when he said people could keep these inadequate policies but he should not back down. People should be required to have a reasonable standard of coverage as outlined in the ACA in order to keep the cost of health insurance from escalating beyond the cost of inflation. And this has nothing to do with software rollout problems which many people choose to focus on as the real issue. But software problems are not the issue. These problems will be corrected over time just as glitches in the roll out of social security and Medicare were corrected over time. The real problem in my estimation is people who say "I have mine, so to hell with you" and who are blinded by the other forms of social welfare in this country that they conveniently choose to ignore such as corporate farm subsidies. By the way, surprise, my health insurance only went up $2 per pay period this year. Anything to do with the ACA? I don't really know, but I believe this is a trend that will continue as the ACA reaches full implementation.
—Greg Reynolds, East Rochester

This is out of control. The uncertainty caused by poor implementation will continue for a long time with the way Washington does things or doesn't do things.
—Gene Tonucci, Allen-Bailey Tag & Label Inc.

The problems so far have more to do with unrealistic expectations for rollout than with the substance of the law itself. The website is not the law. Should due dates be adjusted and penalties be delayed until the website provides the services required—absolutely. Should we give up on the idea that every U.S. citizen, regardless of financial status, deserves access to basic health care regardless of sex, age, or preexisting condition without going bankrupt—absolutely not. My company is using NY-SHOP to its advantage—offering employees 60 different health care plan options where they only had one before. How can that be "bad”? At the same time, our cost on a plan equivalent to the one we have this year from the same provider dropped (yes dropped) 4 percent. This is the first time in 20 years of owning companies that our health care costs have gone down.
—Lee Drake, OS-Cubed Inc.

Personally, I do not think there is any business of the government to meddle in the affairs of the citizen. Where help is needed, then do what must be done, but to blatantly add more expense in running the government where it is not requested or justified is simply stupid! Make no mistake there are some good features like pre-existing, portability, helping the destitute etc. however what the citizen is going through is a travesty of justice.
—J.A. DePaolis, Penfield

Government bureaucracy insures (pun intended) that nothing will get done correctly or efficiently. This plan was ill-conceived from the get go, and it is showing its true colors now upon implementation and rollout. There are a million ways to improve our health care system, but putting it in the hands of bureaucrats isn't one of them. Repeal it before things get much worse.
—David Wagner

The first action that must be taken is that everyone must agree that having adequate, affordable health care is a right. Right now, people who need medical attention and do not have health care experience one of three alternatives: 1. They use health care provided by those people who do pay for it (when their situation is life threatening). 2. They go into debt paying what they can and may become more ill. 3. They pass away. The people who are against the ACA and do not presently have insurance should sign a legal document verifying they take full responsibility for payment of any health care should they ever need it. My guess is that at least 80 percent of the people against ACA (including those in Congress) have very adequate health insurance.
—Donald A. Dinero

We always hear how the Washington government wants to work for all the people in the United States and it never happens. All we get is political party fighting and endless greed for them and nothing else. Now we even get government shut downs where they continue to pay themselves for doing nothing. Today’s health care is broken and way to expensive. Just once it would be nice to see if they could care about the country they are so supposed to support and earn their paycheck by working for us. The Republicans want nothing for this country and the Democrats just don't seem to be smart enough to do anything. So maybe this group of half-wits could come together and create one brain that would work and support the people of this country. If not please let’s just vote them all out and try again. Right now that seems to be our only intelligent choice.
—Ken Pamatat, Creative Images Photography

Cancellation of health insurance plans happens each year. This is not something new. Insurance companies will opt not to renew/offer plans that don't work for them-perhaps low enrollment, perhaps they are paying out more than other plans. This doesn't mean that people are having their health insurance plans cancelled "out from underneath them"; they are not being offered as a renewal option. There really is no excuse for this "problem". Insurance companies have had 3+ years to "git er done". To me, the tiny-bit-educated in health insurance, this reeks of procrastination by insurance companies, at the expense of the uninsured. We have all this covered in this State and have been the role model for HMO's in the past. How about a win-win and use NYS policies as models for other States; use insurers with policies in NYS as models for other insurers?
—Kathy Keady

Continuous improvement is a fundamental requirement for effectiveness and efficiency. Now getting politicians (and others) to agree to improvements is always difficult. A regional and perhaps national group of providers, insurance companies, etc. should exist to make on-going improvements. The current health care system, independent of the ACA, is very broken - twice and cost and worse results than almost any health care system in the world.
—Mike Bleeg, Strategic Results

Repeal the ACA in its entirety. Remember this ACA debacle when you go to the polls! Return to the "free market" system and make it more affordable by allowing interstate purchases, tax deduct-ability for individuals, portability, meaningful tort reform and a limited safety net for the truly needy. Let each state oversee its own health insurance system; get the Federal Government out of its "one-size-fits-all" solution.
—Tom Shea, Thomas P. Shea Agency Inc.

Any project of this magnitude, this poorly planned, would be shameful in private industry. Why the free pass when it's taxpayer money? Why is it so much easier to spend for some? Maybe because about 50% (and rising) don't pay income tax! My insurance was cancelled, and any new policy has a much higher deductible, and it costs hundreds of dollars more per month. Please enlighten me on the benefit. Oh that's right, it's mandated charity (socialism). Unfortunately, to the original question, it probably should remain but be modified before more national debt is created. Before the rollout, I would have said axe it. This is just another socialist program to deal with making small business even more difficult.
—Doug Strang, S & S engineering, P.C.

No long message! Lesson learned. Big government failed. Repeal and start over. Otherwise we will be applying Band-Aids forever.
—Dennis Kiriazides, retired

Rep. Nancy Pelosi: "We have to pass the bill to see what's in it.” President Obama: "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” and “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor,” Many Democrats are now running away from this "tax" that passed along a party line vote, and voting for amendments until after their elections. We've already paid many more times the price of what was projected to set up HealthCare.gov. We're a country, the greatest country, built on free market capitalism. We should look to free market solutions, not bigger government, higher taxes and socialist solutions.
—Clifford Jacobson M.D., Vanguard Psychiatric Services

I wanted to pick "repeal,” but I would only support that option if it is to be replaced with a true single-payer system. Shame on you for not including that option; it renders the results of this poll meaningless. Keep in mind, every time you see someone touting that "over half of Americans don't like Obamacare,” it's only liberals interested in a public option (Medicare-for-all) that push that percentage over 50 percent.
—Matthew D. Wilson

The ACA is now a law. We should work to improve it, rather than tearing it down. It has always been a shame that, in a country with our resources, that some people haven't had medical care coverage. Granted some parts of the act don't seem to work. These parts should be modified or otherwise changed. It would be nice if the voice of reason could work in regard to this program.
—Al Schnucker, Schnucker Packaging Inc.

Remember TEFRA? The Tax Equitable and Fiscally Responsible Act. It was neither equitable nor fiscally responsible. Now we have the Affordable Care Act which is not affordable and does not address care. So what? It's not like we expect these acronyms to mean anything relevant! I say we should jam this down everyone's throats. If it helps us, so be it, if not, commence purging!
—Bill Lanigan

Obamacare has proven to be significantly disruptive to the lives of a vast number of Americans with insurance cancellations and the looming threat of company plan eliminations next year, and higher premiums for most people. This legislation was enacted to provide coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans and in doing so this legislation affected all Americans and failed to accomplish its original goal. So instead of creating some form of system focused on the uninsured, the Democrats decided to create legislation that affected everyone and in the end will still leave over 50 percent of the uninsured without coverage. It is a total failure and should be repealed.
—Dave Coriale, Webster

The law is going to add so much cost to running a business that businesses have no choice but to eliminate or control headcounts. How is that going to help reduce unemployment. If the federal government couldn't even get a website working effectively, efficiency and with cost control, how on earth anyone would think the federal government could run health care for the whole country effectively, efficiently and with cost control. It is a disaster as it is. If the law goes into effect, there will be more disasters to come. If you think those few million unfortunate citizens that received cancellation notices are atrocities, this is only the beginning. You ain't seen nothin' yet!
—Patrick Ho

The government needs to that stay out if the private sector and figures out their problems.
—Matt Nicodemus, High Performance HVAC

11/22/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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