To the Editor:
A recent letter in your paper ["This is not the answer," Oct. 2] contained a number of inaccuracies about the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Individuals with pre-existing conditions - like asthma - will not be discriminated against, will not face higher premiums, and cannot be dropped from policies due to the ACA. In fact, in 2014, this group is guaranteed coverage for the first time ever as a result of this law. The ACA already ended this insurance company discrimination for children.
In addition, the ACA creates no new "government-run health care plan." Under the law, consumers can still purchase or keep their insurance coverage from private insurers just as they always have - if you like your plan you can keep it. Instead, the law expands coverage to more than 30 million Americans by using our existing system of private insurance, as well as expanding the Medicaid program. The coverage expansion is targeted especially at those who lack employer-sponsored health insurance, who, for the first time, will have an affordable, comprehensive insurance option through health insurance exchanges in every state.
Finally, the law does not restrict health benefits under Medicaid and Medicare - in fact, it expands benefits under those programs. For example, the law closes the Medicare prescription drug "doughnut hole" by 2020 and has already lowered prescription drug costs for more than 5.5 million seniors and people with disabilities by more than $4.5 billion.
Contrary to the headline, the ACA is the answer to the problems plaguing our current system.
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin,