To the Editor:
Dan Alexander’s column on the Affordable Care Act (ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare) was greatly disappointing. He frequently espouses the viewpoint that politicians need to overcome their ideological differences and work for the good of the people, but he doesn’t seem to hold himself to the same standard. Rather than serving as a mouthpiece for right-wing propaganda, he could have provided information that might help people improve their lives. Has this newspaper ever published an article informing its readers of their new options and benefits under the ACA and the steps they need to take to pursue them? If so, I haven’t seen it.
Because New York has its own health exchange, none of us have to deal with the federal website. New York’s website is http://www.healthbenefitexchange.ny.gov/. Mr. Alexander claimed that the ACA is taking away our freedom of choice, but when I registered to sign up for a plan I found myself with dozens of options, most of which included all of the local health care providers I looked up. I was a little overwhelmed with all the choices, but the website provided helpful comparative information, giving me more confidence in my decision than I’ve ever had before when selecting an insurance plan. My monthly premiums are now less than one-tenth of what they were last year. My monthly prescription costs are 60 percent of what they were when I was on employer-sponsored insurance.
The fact that Mr. Alexander could so cavalierly dismiss the concept that the U.S. health care system needed an overhaul prior to the ACA suggests to me that he has not had to shop for health insurance as an individual, forced to pay whatever the insurance companies decide to charge, without the bargaining power of a corporation or other group to help him.