Mr. Parnell once again has proven that he's a firm supporter of the Republican Party's stance on the Affordable Care Act (Compass, Aug. 10). The governor's family along with the Legislature, local, state and federal employees, active military, veterans, Alaskan Natives, those over 65 and on Medicare are covered by governmental health insurance. Almost 20 percent of the Alaskan population is uninsured -- that's a sad statement on our state.
Alaska should be assisting those approximately 120,000 of us who are uninsured get affordable health insurance. In 2010 approximately 59 Alaskans died prematurely because they didn't have health insurance (FamiliesUSA.org). Dozens die each year because of this in Alaska and approximately 26,100 per year in the USA.
Parnell deals in ambiguous statements: "But many believe the federal government will eventually cut those promised insurance exchange grants to states, resulting in states shouldering more of the cost of designing and implementing these exchanges." Here and throughout his editorial Parnell makes claims that have no basis in reality, nor does he back them up.
Parnell's fails to mention that those states that have begun the implementation of the Health Insurance Exchanges have already approved rates for 2014 that in some cases are at least 50 percent lower than current rates. (New York Times, July 16).
Republican politicians use many lies and distortions to sway the masses about the ACA:
1. American health care is the best in the world. (Yes, if you're wealthy).
2. Death Panels. (No, but medical insurance companies have acted as such.)
3. ACA is a job killer. (Enrolling an additional 30-plus million into medical insurance will increase health care services/jobs).
4. ACA would add to the deficit. (The Congressional
Budget Office (CBO) states the ACA will cut the deficit by over a trillion dollars).
5. ACA will cut $500 billion from Medicare. (Not true -- -the ACA cuts payments to hospitals and drug companies and saves Medicare).
6. ACA provides for undocumented immigrants. (Simply not true).
7. Republicans were left out of the bill/process. (The ACA is mainly Republican ideas and based on Gov. Romney's plan in Massachusetts).
8. ACA would create a untouchable army of the IRS. (Not so -- IRS's first job is to inform small business owners of the new ACA tax credit and in 2014 assist in administering additional refundable tax credits).
9. ACA is too long. (Without titles the word count is 234,812. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is 257,000 words).
10. ACA would deny coverage to some. (Not true -- ACA won't allow insurers to deny coverage due to existing conditions, nor allow them to charge more to these individuals).
These and other lies can be found at http://www.huffingtonpost.com.
Parnell states that "On October 1, the federal government is supposed to have the enrollment mechanism for the health insurance exchanges up and running. However, full implementation has been delayed and is fraught with operational challenges." The hypocrisy of the Republican Party is truly amazing-- they have forced the feds into sequester and that's had a definite impact on the implementation of the ACA.
Parnell refused the millions in funds to be given to Alaska to assist in setting up the ACA Insurance Exchanges and then has the audacity to state that "In 2012, I announced the State of Alaska would not shoulder the financial burden to create such an exchange. There were far too many unknowns."
Parnell should reconsider his stance to block Alaska from establishing a health insurance exchange as mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- otherwise the federal government will do so for us.
Alaskans should be setting up our own exchange because we know our people better than D.C.
Parnell stated that "Alaska wasn't alone in saying "no" to the health exchange bait-and-switch. Twenty-seven other governors ultimately made the same choice." Those Republican-led state lawsuits lost at the Supreme Court.
The president has been re-elected and the ACA is being enacted.
Sam Combs is an Anchorage architect.
By SAM COMBS