Dr. Rudy Mueller, candidate for NYS Assembly 150th District, recently commented on the Affordable Care Act.
"The ACA was passed by both chambers of Congress, signed by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court. Now it's time to move on and make the best of it. I wish people would stop using the terms 'Obamacare,' 'Romneycare,' or even 'Bush's War' for that matter. We live in a nation based on democratic principles with a constitution and laws. Our elected leaders have made tough decisions, as they have in the past, and will continue to do so well into the future."
Mueller added, "Despite what some are saying, the ACA will prolong Medicare's solvency and has already improved coverage for millions. The frequently sighted '$715 Billion in Medicare Cuts' approximates to 10 percent of total Medicare projected spending in the next ten years and I believe will not decrease but more likely increase the quality of care being delivered to future seniors. Most of the ACA savings will in fact come from eliminating future overpayments to private insurance companies (Advantage Plans) and by reducing the fraud, waste and abuse. For example, the federal government previously overpaid Advantage Plans 14 percent more than traditional Medicare when healthier patients more likely signed on to the private 'Advantage Programs' and the sicker patients stayed in traditional Medicare. Plus administrative costs under private insurance programs (15-20 percent) are also far greater than under traditional Medicare (3-5 percent). These ACA projected savings helped pay for many improved benefits now available to seniors, including the elimination of co-pays on preventive services, the addition of yearly wellness exams, and the eventual closing of the 'donut hole' in prescription costs. Since 2010, this new Law has saved seniors $3 billion in prescription costs or nearly $500 per 'donut hole' member. The ACA also allowed for more investments in electronic medical records and the formation of patient centered medical homes. The vast majority of seniors like their Medicare, they will benefit from these improvements and understand Medicare's vital role in their future health and well-being."
Mueller further stated, "The ACA will also benefit millions of others not currently in Medicare by allowing states the ability to set up health insurance exchanges for many of the uninsured. Governor Cuomo has already made the right call and implemented these exchanges in New York and also agreed to expand Medicaid. Potentially 2-3 million New Yorkers will soon have health insurance and more affordable health care. Many lives can and will be saved in this County and across this State. A recently published medical study, that compared states with and without Medicaid expansion, documented the fact that increasing coverage significantly reduced overall mortality rates by 6 percent in adults, lowered rates of delayed care, and improved ratings of 'very good' or 'excellent' health status."
The NYS Assembly candidate continued, "Currently the Federal government covers nearly 50 percent of NYS Medicaid costs but the new Medicaid expansion will be covered 100 percent by the Feds in the first three years and 90 percent thereafter. Usually New York state is on the 'short end of the stick' when it comes to Washington. And those who currently pay for private health insurance, approximately $1,000 of every family yearly health insurance premium goes towards the cost and care of uninsured New Yorkers. Covering 2-3 million more uninsured N.Y. residents will help stabilize or lower your future health insurance costs."
The doctor explained, "One night in the WCA ER, I remember seeing this 55-year-old uninsured farmer who had lapsed into a coma. His high blood pressure had gone untreated for years and now he suffered a massive stroke and bleed into his brain. He would never see his two children or wife again nor could he even say goodbye. The patient was hospitalized in the ICU and numerous specialists were consulted. Despite all our efforts, the patient was declared brain dead days later and passed away. His wife told me, 'He would not go to the doctor because he was still trying to pay off old ER bills from a previous accident.'"
Dr. Mueller lamented, "The uninsured are real people, many hard working, trying to do their best to survive and raise a family. Unfortunately some can become seriously ill and often have no primary care doctor. They crash into the ER too late and suffer dire consequences. These tragedies continue right here to this day in Chautauqua County and all across New York State. The costs of the uninsured patients' ER and hospital care are also huge and often passed on to those with insurance. And should the uninsured become seriously ill and hopefully survive, most will likely be covered by Medicaid or Medicare, sooner or later."
The Assembly candidate concluded, "Expanding health coverage will save lives for real people who live, try to work and raise a family in Chautauqua County. I realize the ACA is not ideal in everyone's mind and more work still needs to be done. However, now is the time to move forward and make the best of it. When I am elected to the Assembly in November, I promise to work closely with my colleagues in the Assembly, Senate and the Governor to make health care more affordable, accessible and of high quality for all Chautauqua County residents."