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Rally to save health care overflows Faneuil Hall

Rally to save the ACA at Faneuil Hall

Thousands showed up at Faneuil Hall for a rally to save the ACA today, as Molly Lanzarotta shows us.

"When they say repeal, we say resist and reclaim," Sen. Ed Markey said.

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Should have fixed:
1. explosion of premiums for non-ACA subscribers. Every time somebody's premium went up they blamed Obamacare
2. Tax on the young and healthy. Millennial didn't come out to vote... wonder why
3. Job-killing burden on business. You have health care which is too expensive to use and doesn't make you feel better anyway in exchange for cutting your income

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Anyone who looked at the ACA with an ounce of reasoned thought could have predicted this. It is just a bandaid over a broken system. The only thing that ACA "fixes" is stagnant shareholder value...at the price of hard-working American incomes.

The best part is that if you say you're in favor of repealing the ACA, you get labelled as an uncaring, Trump supporting, alt-right extremist. Affordable healthcare and repealing the ACA are not mutually exclusive. People need to come to grips with the fact that the ACA was just not the right solution.

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But this Republican plan (which is what ACA is) was far better than what 20 million people had before, which was nothing at all.

Maybe we're lucky here in Massachusetts - ACA plans are relatively affordable and when you need to see a doctor you can, which is not the case in other states with high deductibles - but the fact remains that millions of people will soon lose all coverage and people will die. No, not the day they get their cancellation or gigantic payment-increase notices, but without lifesaving medicines, without preventive care, yes, people will die.

And maybe if Republicans had spent any of the past six years coming up with an alternative to their own plan, things would be better. Instead, they'll repeal Obamacare, people will die, but the upper 1% will get millions in tax breaks. 'Murrica: Land of the Free and the Dead.

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Republicans have voted 54 times to repeal Affordable Care Act. I bet they could have voted 10 times and spent the remaining 44 working out a replacement plan.

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What you saw was the effect of premiums around the country rising to Massachusetts levels. Why we take it who knows but you can't count on the rest of the country being happy to change bedpans in the new healthcare system.

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I think the problem lies also in personal accountability: people should take preventative measures for their health. The number of hospital visits have gone down 16% since the decade albeit the number of prescribed drugs are increasing. A good diet and exercise goes a long way. People like Martin Shrekli exposed how vulnerable big pharma pricing is. Frank Zappa once said that the biggest issue in America is mental health band that was thirty years ago...

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Not sure how you can take personal responsibility for an auto-immune disease or a genetic disorder or getting hit by a car while you're walking on a sidewalk or any of a thousand other things that can cause massive health-care bills, but, yes, people should stop smoking.

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So... What's the better system? The GOP has no replacement. They seem to like most provisions of the ACA.

Health Savings Accounts are a horrible scam. They make people invest their healthcare in the stock and bond market. Great for investors and hedge funds, but a horrible risk for everyone else. (Try not to get sick during a recession.)

The best replacement for ACA is single payer or a German style regulated market.

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are a fancy name for "your own money." It's pre-tax money, but it's still your own money. Your ability to pay for health care is still limited by your earning power.

The point of insurance is to pay out on losses that are too large for any individual to pay out of his or her own pocket, using the premium dollars that are taken from all of the people who didn't suffer a loss. This is true whether the insurance scheme is run by the government or by a private company.

HSAs and medical insurance both have their specific uses, but one is not a substitute for the other.

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Your ability to pay for health care is still limited by your earning power.

True, and that alone is wrong. Someone making a small sum of money isn't less deserving of health care of someone making large sums of money. Maybe if cancer or broken bones only affected people in upper income brackets I'd agree with you.

The problem with HSAs is that they make you put "your money" into some sort of investment. You can put it into US Bonds which don't even track inflation or you can put it into the stock market and hope that it doesn't crash. The person getting rich is the money manager, not you.

HSAs have some good incentives like making people more aware of the cost of their healthcare since they are paying for it. However, HSAs open normal people up to being decimated by the market at times when they can least afford it. They are a gift to those who are already wealthy.

EDIT: Not disagreeing with BikerGeek

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BikerGeek is agreeing with you. They aren't saying the poor are less deserving of healthcare, but if you use a HSA mechanism, they will be less able to obtain it.

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O should have concentrated on raising incomes for the young w fast economic growth. Instead he tried to turn the USA into a social democracy, and siphon money out of the young to pay for older, richer people who just don't want to pay the price for the health care they are using.

The baby boomers had a great time, not having kids and not investing in the ones they did have. But you have to pay the piper.

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I'm sure you'd like to eliminate these "horrible" regulations but since I like being able to drink the tap water, prefer safe working conditions, and want to be able to breath without a mask I'd have to oppose that.

There is no easy way to rapidly raise income levels of the middle/lower classes. The baby boomers got extremely lucky and benefited from huge technological improvements coupled with demand for goods and services from war-torn Europe. That's not going to happen again.

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I agree with most of your comments. But what do you mean by mandatory investment? (Did I understand correctly?) I've had HSA plans for years & I've never invested the funds. Several money-types in my life have given me the unsolicited advice that I'm nuts for not investing (of course), but I like to keep it available.

Why? Aside from not wanting to risk my savings for others' much greater financial benefit, in the last 3 years I've needed 3 surgeries, plus I had Lyme disease & shingles in 2015-2016. Since the money was in my savings, for 2 more years I could stay with my high-deductible plan & use the savings to cover my deductibles, co-pays & pt/ot equipment for 2013-2014-2015. When I saw in late 2015 that the money might run out with another surgery & aftercare (in 2016), I switched back to a HMO with the lowest possible out of pocket max for 2016 only. The premium was painful, but I scrimped out of necessity. (You can still draw the funds if you don't have a HSA plan, you just can't contribute anything.)

Now for 2017 I'm back with a lower premium & hope to contribute the max again this year. This was my savings remains mine alone & available the minute I need it. No investment gains, but no risk, either. Fingers crossed no more surgeries in coming years...

I'm not saying I like this system - just that investment/risk isn't strictly necessary. *Fwiw, I'm gen-ex, female, self-employed, carry 100% hc costs alone. And, no long-term chronic illness, but an array of injuries.

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My HSA (employer provided) is administered by Fidelity which require the money to be placed in one of their funds. Someone can choose a Money Market or US Bond fund but either way it's an investment and Fidelity benefits. As I understand it, most HSA plans are similar and administered by banks or investment firms who are going to push people to take similar risks as they do with retirement savings.

Some people are in a position to do well with HSA accounts (you and me) but most people won't be as lucky. They are particularly bad for people with chronic conditions who never get the chance to save at all.

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Thanks for explaining that. I know very little about conventional corporate HR policies.

That's ridiculous people can't at least stick the money in a cash reserve account (Fidelity if need be), which would keep it liquid. So f*ing incestuous.

Agree with your other points. If I hadn't managed to save to the limit for a few of years running, I would have walked away from my accidents deep in medical debt. I can't imagine how hard this must be for others more sick & less able to save.

Medical debt is a terrifying short path to ruin. What a country.

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There is a movement to create a single payer system in Massachusetts. It's doable. This is not something I'm directly involved with, but I know people who are, so I can dig up more info if it's wanted. The thing you can do right now is to contact your representatives in the state legislature and tell them that you want this -- too many of them think it's a "dead issue" and that people don't want it.

I think this is the way to go: to create single-payer systems at the state level rather than trying for a federal fix. Given the pure blind stubborn ignorance of the average American, and the ease with which they're manipulated by those who want to get them to vote against their own best interests, we need to focus on local solutions first. If the nation as a whole never catches on, well, it wouldn't be the first time that the nation as a whole was on the "slow to never" schedule to adopt a good idea that proved its merits in Massachusetts.

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I agree. Many states will just do their own thing. Now that many of them have seen that providing healthcare for everyone, have seen the benefits of doing so. Even states that were hesitant initially are now asking for not a repeal of the ACA. (such as Ohio's Kasich). And if it does, they will probably look at doing their own thing.

Even still, here in MA.. Even if we don't get single payer, we will just go back to RomneyCare. Even our own Charlie Baker, a former mogul of an insurance carrier (Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan), understands the benefits of better healthcare for all.

Not all is lost.

Of course I still have friends here in MA who think they are going to lose their insurance. Not so folks. We'll just go back to the way things were before the ACA. I've been informing people of this for weeks now... the replies I get are interesting and I get alot of "thank yous for quelling my fears".

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Cybah, I'm interested what your take on this is, because as I understand the situation we won't be able to go straight back to RomneyCare. The federal GOP wants to gut Medicare & Medicaid - and indicated they would do that last week in the initial budget vote - and RomneyCare needs them to properly function.

Further, the GOP wants to strip away the consumer protections on health insurance so that people with pre-existing conditions can be kicked off their plans, and never be offered affordable plans again. In last week's initial vote, the Republicans voted to make pregnancy a pre-existing condition (!!!). RomneyCare did not have the same level of consumer protection that ObamaCare/the ACA does.

(By the way, in Massachusetts, our Senators support ACA and oppose its repeal, but they can still use our vocal support. Sen. Warren's phone numbers are 202-224-4543 & 617-565-3170. Sen. Markey's phone numbers are 202-224-2742 & 617-565-8519. Governor Baker has been wishy-washy about his full support for keeping the ACA functional; call him to remind him of what his constituents want; his phone numbers are: 888.870.7770, 617.725.4005, & 202.624.7713. And speak up through Twitter too, if you're so inclined.)

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Sounds like you are an advocate for single payer, then. Bernie Sanders was promoting that at the Healthcare rally in Michigan today.

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The GOP spent the last 7 years trying as hard as they could to ignore the problems and benefits of ACA. A whole lot of people got health care as a result of the bill and the cost to business was small. The GOP had every opportunity to make the program better but instead they just wanted to use it as a wedge issue, people's health be dammed.

Also, young people didn't vote for Trump, they just didn't vote at all. Don't confuse the lack of support for Clinton for approval of Trump's policies. He has no mandate. A vast majority of the people like 80% of what the ACA provided -- countless surveys and studies have shown that.

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Not only did Trump win, when ALL major media outlets and vast majority of journalists swore HRC would win, but Democrats (and by extension 'progressives') lost both branches of congress, governorships, and state assemblies. And data now shows Trump won the majority of white female voters.

Something doesn't add up the 'progressive' narrative.

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No, he did not win the popular vote, a fact that bothers him intensely, based on his tweets about "illegal" votes.

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lost both branches of congress

Misleading if not outright false. The Democrats GAINED six seats in the House and two seats in the Senate. They just didn't end up with a majority in either chamber. Sane people would not call this "losing both branches of congress[sic]".

Something doesn't add up the 'progressive' narrative.

Not if you're the one writing it, for sure. But then, if you were writing it, it would be your narrative, not ours.

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The rally was never in the Hall, it was outside the Hall. Thousands have showed up.

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This is correct. The rally occurred outside.

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Obviously, I'm not there myself (or I'd be posting some photos, too). Mistook the event announcement on Facebook, which offered tickets.

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I know they're tightly related, but still 2 different things.

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Yes, they're not the same. But the fact is that in much of the country, without health insurance, you don't get health care. We've been insulated from that for awhile here in Massachusetts, where we had higher rates of health insurance even before Romneycare and we had a much stronger safety-net concept, but don't worry, that'll be coming here soon - people who have just been quietly assuming that if ACA goes away we'll still be protected here by Romneycare don't realize that even our pre-existing insurance scheme relies heavily on subsidies from the federal government - which will probably go away along with ACA, given the mood of Congress these days.

Disclaimer: My interest in this is more than just academic. We had a Romneycare insurance plan and now we have an ACA insurance plan. How we are going to continue to pay for health insurance when the latter goes away and the former either gets crippled or just goes away as well is something we've spent a fair amount of time worrying about.

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I'm hoping beyond hope that Mass. won't be affected too much. I was able to leave my job and start my own business as a private practitioner healthcare professional because I could afford Romneycare/ACA for my insurance. If that goes away, I may have to close my business. Wonder if any on the right thought of that? Or care?

Also, for those who think HSAs will result in lower costs, I can assure you it will do the opposite. Because of insurance contracts my fee for patients with insurance is effectively 45% of what I charge private pay patients (after the writeoff). So be prepared to pay a lot more for the same service.

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The USA spends 18% of GDP on healthcare, which is far more than anyplace else. Sweden spends 12%. Most countries are under 9%.

ACA did nothing to try to reduce that spending. If anything, ACA worked to increase that overall spending. Expanding coverage is a horrible thing to try unless you also work to reduce expenses.

We all have a story about an absurd medical bill we've seen for hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars for a seemingly trivial amount of care. That's the core problem.

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Most developed countries (like Sweden) have far more regulated healthcare systems.

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Actually there were a bunch of mechanisms in the ACA to try and reduce spending on healthcare. Unfortunately they got dubbed as "death panels" by opponents and were gutted. Cost increases are being blunted somewhat over time but as a "market based" solution that mostly eschews government negotiation on basic costs its dependent on large subsidies to mask the actual costs.

The demand for healthcare isn't somehow elastic like iPhones vs. Android phones. Its actually rather predictable based on a population and demographics. Given the current state of the art in medicine and what you desire in the state of a population's health you can know what the demand will be. Health care does not respond well to classic market economics. It just doesn't.

Making it a market solution rather than a socially determined benefit distorts and raises the costs by preferring higher profit activities like marginally useful new drug development and capital intensive interventions over basic public health interventions and encouraging efficient use of preventive services. Uncompensated care due to a lack of insurance creates those ridiculous bills from hospitals attempting to balance their books creating even more distortions. Treating health care as something amenable to a free market solution is one of the biggest failures of the conservative dogma since Reagan.

I was in France recently and a woman on our cruise fell and broke her hip. When she went to the hospital they examined her and decided she needed a hip replacement, which she got pretty much the next day with no muss or fuss about the cost. That's what single payer systems do, they just diagnose and treat people. Health care should just be part of the basic infrastructure of a modern society, like roads and water systems.

The ACA is not perfect by any means but the hysterical political opposition somehow convinced people it was some sort of evil plot. It was basically a Republican idea (Thanks Mitt!) adapted by a Democratic Congress and administration. It is a market based solution and probably the only one that could work on those terms. If its repealed, the next effective answer will be a single payer system. HSAs and all the other conservative "solutions" just perpetuate a faulty understanding of health care delivery and will fail to address the enormous drain on our economy that health costs represent.

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The USA spends 18% of GDP on healthcare

Correction: the USA spends 18% of its GDP on health insurance. Human beings do not need health insurance, they need health CARE.

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I had no idea heath insurance was the same thing as health care. Interesting.

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In large parts of the United States, if you don't have health insurance, you don't get health care. Interesting, I know.

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Now you pay out of pocket while still paying for useless health insurance.

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I don't know. Yes, I've read of people being stuck with high deductibles. But as somebody who benefits from ACA here in Massachusetts, no, that's not the case here. Is it perfect? No - those co-pays can add up - but we weren't concerned about how we were going to pay for seeing the doctor, getting prescriptions and stuff like colonoscopies until the last few weeks.

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Will we revert to that? Gutting ACA stinks for country but MA residents might be OK?

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Yes, we would revert to RomneyCare. But as mentioned elsewhere here, it depended on federal subsidies that became part of the overall ACA (which also expanded certain protections, such as the ban on lifetime coverage caps). If Republicans just snap their fingers and make ACA go away, we (meaning people who use its services) are screwed. But you know what, even people who don't use the Health Connector could get screwed - if the state loses the billions of dollars it was expecting that's going to mean higher premiums for everybody else, along with potential hospital chaos (one small example, hardly the worst - the worst being that lots of hospitals just fail and shut down - before Romneycare, subscribers to private insurance plans had to effectively pay a surcharge to help make up the cost of hospital care for people who never paid their bills).

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That's not been my experience at all. I was able to leave my job and become self employed thanks to Romenycare/ACA. My premiums are reasonable and my deductible is sane. I have had no trouble getting coverage when needed. I am expecting my premiums and deductible to skyrocket and my insurance to become effectively useless once the right repeals ACA.

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"Heathcare coverage" is the best term, I think. "Insurance" suggests something else.

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Just wait and see what the future brings.
You have to pass the bill before you read it made no sense.
Why does the new have to be worse than the old

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Republicans in Congress are looking to repeal ACA without having a replacement in place.

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The Republicans have had years and have not proposed anything that would be better.
Eric Cantor in the NY Times today asserted that Republicans had a plan: good revisionist history.
Show me, don't tell me; and above all don't look behind the curtain....

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When is my health care going down by $2500 as promised. It's been 6 years now, and my broker tells
Expect a 15-20% increase next year. Thanks obamacare.

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