Affordable Care Act, health exchange good for Minnesota

To the editor:

There are those who would turn back the clock by repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often called Obamacare.

This is a short-sighted and narrow view. Repealing the ACA would hurt more Minnesotans than it would help. Can you remember pre-existing conditions?

I am proud that Minnesota chose to build its own health care exchange by creating Mnsure. Despite a very rocky roll out, over 300,000 Minnesotans have enrolled since August 21, 2013, and the number of uninsured has dropped by an astounding 40.6 percent, reducing the pressure on emergency rooms and giving hospitals more paying customers.

Minnesota expanded Medicaid for the very poor and strengthened Minnesota Care for those with moderate income(works well for beginning farmers etc), plus the exchange allows an apples to apples comparison of insurance plans that meet the minimum standards to be sold in Minnesota. The result is the second lowest premium set in the nation while providing comprehensive coverage.

Wisconsin said “NO” to setting up its own exchange as did South Dakota. They both refused Federal money to expand Medicaid for the very poor. The result was a greatly diminished Badger Care, the Wisconsin version of Minnesota Care and 80,000 low income Wisconsinites were denied access to expanded preventive care benefits provided under the ACA. This puts added pressure on emergency rooms as primary health care.

Do we really want to throw out the health care gains of the ACA and return to denial of coverage for preexisting conditions and forgetting to report teenage acne? Do we want to go back to paying premiums, only to be told we need prior approval for an ambulance ride or treatment? I do not.

I hope we fix the flaws and build toward getting everyone in the big pool with a system with low administrative cost and comprehensive benefits for every one. The option is before us here in Minnesota and nationally. It makes a difference who we send to St. Paul and Washington. De we turn back the clock or do we move forward?

Al Kruse