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LETTER: Writer needlessly panics at health care reform

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Dianne Sacchetti’s letter (“Tillis ought not thwart health care law,” April 16, 2020) exemplifies the left’s abject panic whenever a Republican attempts to reform or repeal Obamacare. She attacks Sen. Thom Tillis for not “protecting affordable health care,” and attempts to blame him for unsubstantiated claims that repeal would cause those with preexisting conditions to be “denied coverage.”

Under Obamacare, the average premium paid in the individual market in North Carolina soared from $240 per month in 2013 to $706 per month in 2018 — an increase of 194%. During the same period the number of insurance companies plunged 75% from 12 to three. North Carolina also absorbed the fourth-highest deductible increases under the ACA Bronze-Level plan at 39%.

Obamacare triggered these increases when it outlawed long-accepted actuarial principles — mandating that insurers accept anyone regardless of preexisting conditions. Insurance companies were not allowed to charge a higher premium based on an applicant’s illness.

With 49% of Americans receiving health insurance through an employer, 14% in Medicare, and 21% in Medicaid, 84% cannot be excluded from these programs because of preexisting conditions. Nine percent choose to be uninsured, but not because of preexisting conditions.

Only in the individual market of 7% could one be denied coverage because of a medical condition. Nationally there are 3-4 million people, or 1-1.5% of the population, whose preexisting conditions would qualify them for high-risk pools.

This 1-1.5% can and should be given a reliable safety net but the whole system need not be destroyed in the process.

Bill Lawson