GRADY COUNTY —
Yesterday marked the first time U.S. citizens could sign up for health care via The Affordable Care Act, and Grady County met the landmark legislation with a variety of opinions.
Mayor and Ross Home Health care Owner Hank Ross said the law addresses some key issues, but is by no means perfect.
"It's like all landmark legislation," he said. "Until we get healthy people to pay into the pool we won't be able to curtail insurance costs."
Ross said addressing end of life care is key to managing costs in the health care world.
"Most people will spend 60 percent of their combined health care costs during the last six months of their life," he said.
Many health care providers will try to keep patients in the hospital toward the end of their lives as it maximizes costs, according to Ross. He said he doesn't agree with this philosophy and it leads to higher premiums overall.
"End of life care planning and management of chronic disease would help our cost curve significantly," Ross said.
A recent study performed by the Oklahoma Department of Health and Human Services found monthly rates for health insurance in the state under Obamacare will be 20 to 30 percent lower than the national average.
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak said this data is misleading and inaccurate.
“This is nothing but smoke and mirrors from the Obama administration,” said Doak. “Facts are facts. Rates are going up in Oklahoma. The HHS report is extremely misleading. Saying that our rates are less than the national average leads people to believe everyone is going to pay less for health insurance, but that’s just not true. Oklahoma’s rates are lower than the national average because we have a very robust, competitive insurance market in Oklahoma, but rates are still going up. Each individual will have a different situation. It should be understood that rates and subsidies are two entirely different things. Rate increases will be moderated due to the subsidies which we all end up paying for in the long run."
Despite the controversy surrounding the landmark legislation, respondents to a question on The Express-Star's Facebook about the law responded favorably to its implantation.
"As a 60-year-old woman who is self employed this will be the only way I could possibly afford health insurance," Lois Phariss wrote. "I had Insure Oklahoma, which has been terrific, but now I have been cancelled. I was quoted the price of $84 per month before the Affordable Care Act when into effect. Will be interesting to see what mine will run per month."
DeAnte Stubbs raised the theory that anything that saves lives can't be bad and Stanley Lew plainly stated, "it's a good thing."