The stakeholders in the Obamacare rollout aren’t just in Washington, D.C. Across the United States, health care providers, small-business owners, patients, and others are all affected by the law. In a new msnbc series, we send an Obamacare questionnaire to people all over the country – places where healthcare exchanges have been set up, those where they have not been set up, and those where the debate continues. Through it all we hope to understand one thing: How Obamacare is affecting the lives of Americans.
Dr. James Dalen, 82, is the dean emeritus of the University of Arizona College of Medicine. In Jan. 2013, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced that the state would expand Medicaid under the ACA.
Q: What were the biggest problems with our health care system before the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
James Dalen: Our health care costs are the highest in the world. As a result health insurance is very expensive, and many Americans cannot afford it. Without health insurance they do not have access to ongoing primary and preventive care. The end result is that U.S. health outcomes lag behind nations that have found a way to ensure that all its citizens have access to health care.
Q: In your experience, is the health care law adequately addressing those problems?
JD: The most important outcome of the ACA is that it will give most of our 50 million plus uninsured access to health insurance.
Q: In what ways has Obamacare affected you?
JD: I have Medicare – the ACA improves Medicare by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and drops deductibles for preventive care (a very good investment!).
Q: What is the one thing people should understand about the ACA, based on your experience?
JD: It will improve our nation’s health by improving our health outcomes.
Q: What are you most concerned or excited about ahead of the March 31 deadline?
JD: I am excited that many Americans will have access to health care, but I am concerned that some will not enroll because of the intense opposition to the ACA from the Republican party.