Opinion: American health care system needs work

By Sam Gladney

I’m not much for posturing. I don’t care for empty rhetoric. Blame it on my Missouri and Army roots. In the Army, only proposals that can produce results garner consideration.

The American health care system needs serious work, but as tempting as it may be, we should not abandon the employer-provided system. We should fight to preserve and expand the gains made under the ACA.

The reason Republicans cannot seem to offer a better alternative to cover pre-existing conditions is because there is no better alternative. Despite all their rhetoric and hyperbole, the ACA has helped millions of people. You can no longer be denied coverage because you are sick. Young people who are just getting their start in life, dealing with student loans, can remain on their parent’s health care until they are 26. These are all good things. The Army side of my brain would tell me we are producing results; we are helping people.

In spite of the progress, there is still work to be done. We could shore up cost-sharing to make all care more affordable, and help people learn about their health insurance options through outreach and enrollment. It does not mean, however, that we should abandon the progress we have already made in favor of a single payer system. There is always a temptation to create something new when confronted with difficulty as opposed to building on the progress we’ve already seen. That temptation is especially strong when it comes to health care. We would be wise to keep in mind that the protections gained under the ACA were over 70 years in the making. The protections we currently enjoy took generations to achieve.

Let’s build on that progress, not start over.

Sam Gladney, Hartnett Gladney Hetterman, LLC. Former Democratic candidate for the Missouri House of Representatives.