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Poll: What Should It Be -- Birthday Wishes or 'Bon Voyage' for Obamacare?

Six years on, how does the Affordable Care Act look to you now?

It’s been six years since President Barack Obama signed his landmark Affordable Care Act. At the time, it was very controversial; people feared they would no longer be able to keep the health insurance they wanted, worried it would increase healthcare costs and the federal budget, create death panels, and limit flexibility for both consumers and providers. Conservatives also opposed the idea of a mandate requiring all Americans to purchase healthcare coverage.

President Obama argued that the ACA would extend healthcare to millions through tax subsidies and the extension of Medicaid, protect consumers from being dropped by insurance carriers, increase quality of health plans, and serve as an incentive to those who provided quality healthcare. It would also give consumers a way to compare insurance plans.

After six years, many of the results are in.

What do you think of the ACA and its impact on New Jersey?

  • I never liked the plan and I still don’t. I don’t think the government has a right to mandate the purchase of anything, and I don’t think it’s helped bring down costs. Although some of the early rhetoric has proved to be purely alarmist, I think it’s just one boondoggle that fuels a giant new bureaucracy.

  • I initially opposed it but now I think its done a lot of good. Tens of thousands of New Jerseyans that couldn’t afford healthcare now have it, offering peace of mind and limiting the use of emergency rooms as the way to get primary care. And it hasn’t hurt my family in any way, so I think the Republicans in Congress should stop opposing it and offer some ideas to fix what they think is wrong.

  • The jury is out. I like the idea of expanding healthcare to everyone through Medicaid and tax credits. But I’m not sure what it’s done to bring healthcare costs down in general. And I think it’s had some unintended consequences -- such as mergers of healthcare systems and even mergers of physician practices. We need our own healthcare exchange and more experiments to cut costs. I don’t think it’s a good thing to have only a few behemoth hospital systems around the state. We’ve got to keep tweaking the system to make sure it improves.

  • The ACA has been an unqualified success: It has expanded healthcare to millions of Americans that didn’t have it before, mandated things the middle-class wanted such as the ability to keep their kids on their plans until they were self-sufficient, and made it illegal to deny insurance due to pre-existing conditions. It also has money built into the program to experiment with ways to increase quality while decreasing costs. The ACA is great but like all things that are complicated, it takes a while for people to fully appreciate it. This is just the beginning.

  • I support the ACA over doing nothing. But we really need Medicare for all. Why do we need the insurance industry, with its push for profits, smack in the middle of our healthcare industry?

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