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Letter: Time to put politics aside and improve health care

Time to put politics aside and improve health care

At this time the Senate is contemplating a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare.) I have been a mental health practitioner in Western New York for over 35 years. I have worked in both public hospitals and in private practice as a diagnostician and therapist for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

We practitioners have worked for years to protect the health of these people by striving to ensure that insurance companies provide adequate coverage for their necessary health needs. This work has borne fruit and many people have received vital mental health care that they could not obtain or pay for completely out of pocket. To their credit, insurers have increasingly recognized that this care is essential to a person’s overall health and therefore to the health of the community.

The ACA has widened the scope of coverage to individuals who could not otherwise obtain (pre-existing conditions) or afford insurance (including hardworking citizens who are not provided health insurance by their employers.) To these people the ACA has been literally a lifesaver not only for mental health needs but for overall physical health care. It is these people, and therefore our community, who would suffer most by repeal; and these people, among others, for which the ACA is vital.

Clearly the ACA is an imperfect but revolutionary piece of legislation. It needs to be fine-tuned by our lawmakers. But, it appears that they want to mindlessly repeal and start over again for political reasons. I am optimistic that reason and not politics, in the end, will lead to responsible congress members (there are many) putting the needs of all citizens above partisan issues.

James M. Serapiglia


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