The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is a controversial reform to the health care system of the United States. When educated readers see that there is a health care debate in The Elm, we expect an intelligent discussion of the reform. Most of all, we expect the writers to have a firm understanding of PPACA.
However, we got neither in the articles in “The Debate on Health Care Act: Political Correspondents Respond” in the Sept. 7 issue of The Elm. Instead, we got the spread of misinformation in Mr. Sepe’s article and political mudslinging in Mr. Cronin’s. I will focus on Mr. Sepe’s article as his errors are more egregious.
Mr. Sepe states that the “Congressional Budget Office estimates a tax increase of $1.93 trillion”. However, the CBO and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) report released after the Supreme Court’s decision states nothing of two trillion dollar tax increase, only of a $515 billion increase in revenue over a 10 year period. He also states that four million people will lose their employer-based health insurance. While this figure is given by the CBO report, Mr. Sepe ignores CBO’s following statement that at least two million people will be covered under Medicaid and the new insurance exchanges
Mr. Sepe seems sure that 53.6 percent of college graduates are unemployed. Despite being often quoted by the media, this figure is incorrect. The 53.6 percent reflects mal-employment which is defined in the report as being an occupation that is not “profession[al], technical, managerial, and high-level” in nature. Meaning this number does not reflect the percentage of college graduates who could not get a job but rather get the job they wanted. The actual unemployment rate among college graduates is 6.8 percent.
Mr. Sepe argues that there is an “age rating system” that causes younger people to pay higher premiums than older people. While PPACA does allow for insurance premiums to vary based on age, the act instead prevents insurance companies from charging older people more than three times the premiums of their youngest policy holder. This is a direct contradiction to Mr. Sepe’s statement “low premiums for older adults and higher premiums for younger adults.”
Mr. Sepe also states that medical procedures should be between “you and your doctor” and that PPACA violates this liberty. He seems to ignore that PPACA dictates that the government will have no say in medical procedures but will be in the hands of a non-governmental organization called the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute whose board includes doctors, nurses, insurers, and patients – essentially putting healthcare in the hands of doctors and patients as Mr. Sepe wants.
It saddens me that such an article as Mr. Sepe’s was allowed to be printed despite its egregious errors. I feel that if Mr. Sepe had actually read the CBO report, PPACA, and HCERA, we would have had an article of nothing but rhetorical questions that he will never answer.
Gary Fenstamaker ‘13
The Elm Photography Editor