>>Dr. Teresa Bratton is a pediatric allergist and a healthcare advocate in Greensboro. Through the League of Women Voters, she educates community groups about the Affordable Care Act. In a recent interview, Dr. Bratton laid out numerous reasons why the Affordable Care Act is important to the people of North Carolina.
Here are five of those reasons:
1) Getting care and staying healthy saves money in the long-run, and is better for workers and families. “When people have no access to insurance, they will try to limit their expenditures and will not fill drugs, will not go to the doctor until they have to. At that point, they are frequently much sicker and require more drugs and their lives are more disrupted.”
2) Children who receive medical treatment do better in school. “[If you’re sick], you’re going to be distracted and you’re not going to perform as well as you can in school. If we want people to get an education and make the most of the opportunities this country offers, we need to keep children healthy.”
3) Keeping people out of the hospital saves money. “Up until the Affordable Care Act, anybody with significant asthma had a pre-existing condition and couldn’t get coverage. The death rate for asthma has come down because of the tremendous advancements we’ve had in medication, but the downside of that is these medications cost money. Say I have a bad asthmatic — $500 a month for medication is not unusual. That’s $6,000 a year – but if they have one hospitalization, that’s going to be thousands [more] dollars. So you save money by keeping them healthy. And if you treat them, they’re in school, they can study, they can learn, they have much greater potential for being someone who will be a productive citizen.”
4) Families should not go broke because of medical bills. “Medical bills are still the biggest cause of bankruptcy in this country. …If we cover people, we cover their pre-existing conditions, we don’t kick them off insurance once they get sick, we limit the liability they have so they aren’t bankrupted if they have the misfortune of developing a catastrophic illness – then we end up with a system where more of our citizens are going to be productive and overall the whole system will benefit.”
5) When we deny people healthcare, we deny them the opportunity to build a better life. “If they can’t take their medications because we have limited health care– and have condemned a portion of our population to not succeed in life because they don’t have access to care– that’s wrong.”