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THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE Oct. 16, 2013
  • Taking Myself to School on Obamacare
  • Dear Ray,

    Valek & Co. Celebrates 10th Anniversary

    Ten years ago today, I started Valek & Co. the day after I was laid off and the Cubs lost the National League Championship Series.

    Today, we can proudly point to the work we've done for more than 65 organizations through a business model that brings experience and value to them. On their behalf, we have produced these project highlights.

    We appreciate your continued support and interest. Even after 10 years, we continually must develop projects; therefore, your business and referrals are welcomed!

    In this issue of Mission: Communicate!, my daughter, Genevieve, a student at Illinois State University, provides her personal take on the Affordable Care Act. At the end of her article is a link to my script from a recent presentation on the act I made at an IABC-Chicago luncheon. Have a good day!

    Sincerely,

    Ray Valek, 708-352-8695

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    Taking Myself to School on Obamacare

    By Genevieve Valek

    About two weeks ago, I was a part of the 62 percent of Americans who admit they do not have the information they need to understand Obamacare. In a recent Washington Post poll, results showed that only 42 percent of Americans support the mandate to buy health insurance, while 52 percent of Americans oppose it. Now, these numbers just don't add up. As American citizens, it is our job to roughly understand the comings and goings of our government and the laws that are passed through it. Can you give a valid opinion on whether or not you support Obamacare if you do not know enough about it to understand it? That is why the two polls taken by the Washington Post do not add up.

    And that's exactly the problem. In a country that is saturated with various media outlets, Americans tend to form opinions on what they've seen or heard repeated over and over again on the Internet, the television - you name it. Unfortunately, the "talking points" that are generally discussed having to do with the Affordable Care Act are not always accurate depictions of what the law is really about. More often than not, they are questions and opinions formed by political party biases. When will people start to read between the lines of the most common talking points and find the truth?

    Two weeks ago, I decided to enlighten myself about the health insurance mandate and other aspects of the law. In one of my current political science classes, we students were given the option to read "Understanding Obamacare: Politico's Guide to Understanding the Affordable Care Act" as a supplemental assignment. I chose to do the extra reading, in hopes that I could finally understand what all the fuss is about concerning Obamacare. Also, I wanted to be able to give an informed opinion in class during discussion based upon information I read, not what I heard on the news. Basically, I wanted to learn. I wanted to do what most Americans are not doing, and actually understand this law cover to cover.

    What I found most intriguing, and what may be Obamacare's biggest selling point, is the ability for those with pre-existing conditions to buy insurance and thereby receive health care. Instead of being denied insurance for conditions ranging from asthma to high blood pressure, these people will finally be able to get a health insurance plan. Also, they will not have to worry about having to pay extremely expensive premiums for minimum coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Instead, to cover these costs, healthy people will see a slight rise in their health insurance premiums. Doesn't that sound great? Unfortunately, it does not to everyone.

    Republicans have alternative plans to Obamacare that they say would give the same guaranteed coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions through "high-risk pools." There are abundant variations of these "high-risk pool" alternate care plans, but Republicans haven't agreed on which one they'd prefer the most.

    Clint Murphy, a real estate agent in Savannah featured in the Politico guide, is a survivor of testicular cancer. This means that he cannot get health insurance now, and the only way he will be able to receive it is through the Affordable Care Act.

    "Get off this 'my way or the highway,'" Murphy says. "They're treating it like a game, like there's no people involved. They need to start looking at what really happens. I'm not a statistic. I'm a real person."

    Those who share Murphy's position also share his frustration. People like him should not be left to fend for themselves because a few healthier people are afraid to pay a bit more for their insurance premiums, premiums that will inevitably go up over time no matter what. For citizens like Murphy, getting health insurance coverage could be the difference between life or death. Obamacare will only affect roughly 14 percent of the population that are not already insured through their employers or who are self-insured. That 14 percent of the population needs health care now, and they are not willing to sit and twiddle their thumbs while the debate over Obamacare incessantly rages on. It's lovely that Republicans have tried to come up with their own alternatives, but Obamacare is the law now, and we must deal with what we have.

    The fact of the matter is health care in America is inequitable and mediocre, even in some cases for people who have great insurance. We are the only ones who can make it better for everyone. We must educate ourselves about this new health care law, and focus on its abilities to improve our care system today. If we do this and support this law, then things will have a much greater chance of working than if we continue to ignore its presence.

    The Affordable Care Act is all we have right now in terms of fixing our health care problem, so I'd say its about time we buck up, stop being ignorant, and work hard to make America a better place with better health care. I know I will.

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