To the editor:
Recently on these pages fellow citizen Melinda Henderson claimed, “And colonoscopies and mammograms are FREE (emphasis hers) for everyone.” Fallacious is not a strong enough adjective to describe her rhetoric in support of controversial Public Law 111-148, entitled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA.)
There is no newly created free medical care provided by ACA. Free medical care is charity care voluntarily donated at no charge by a generous provider holding no expectation of reimbursement. Even then, there is a cost for the transportation of the patient to the charity care facility or the charity care provider to the patient — a cost that is paid by someone.
Costs involved for provision of colonoscopies or mammograms for patients under insurance plans under the ACA law such as: medical staff member wages, the purchase and upkeep of the medical instruments used, supplies consumed, and the cost of documentation in health records are not cost-free. Those costs will be paid by: 1) the pool of funds collected by insurers in premiums, 2) by tax receipts from productive workers, 3) other ACA-specific taxes and fees, or 4) by increased federal debt. Medical care provided under ACA with no co-pay, no co-insurance, and no deductible for the patient is not free, and I trust Ms. Henderson is intelligent enough to recognize the outright fallacy in her published words. I wish her well as she develops a refined, fact-based rationale for her opinion on ACA and other matters of public policy.