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Ellen Linderman, Published January 29 2011

Repeal also does away with good elements of health law

For most of my adult life, I have supported reform of our costly health care system. Finally, at long last, we have a start. So the first priority for the new majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is to vote on repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act.

We need to remind Congressman Rick Berg, R-N.D., of the good provisions of the new law. First, North Dakota families will not have to worry about insurance companies raising our premiums by double digits without any accountability or recourse.

Our state’s seniors will have access to free preventive care and assistance to make their prescription drugs more affordable, including elimination of the “doughnut hole.”

Young North Dakotans will be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 26.

The health reform law invests in doctors and nurses and will help to increase the number of medical providers practicing in rural areas. In addition, our state’s doctors and hospitals will receive as much as $650 million in increased Medicare funding thanks to a provision known as the Frontier States Amendment, which Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan and Congressman Earl Pomeroy authored and secured in the Affordable Care Act.

Finally, the new law stops insurers from denying North Dakotans coverage because of pre-existing conditions. I have had personal experience with this. After I had eye surgery, our insurance company, which had gladly collected our premiums since we began farming in 1976, tried to drop me. Lack of health insurance puts our entire farming operation at risk.

Interestingly, most of the items in the Affordable Health Care Act were originally proposed by Republicans. In fact, the most controversial provision, which mandates that everyone have coverage, was a Republican idea from several years ago. Now that they have won over the other side to their ideas, they have apparently changed their minds.

Recently, polls have shown that more people are supporting the health care reform law as they become more familiar with the real provisions. Berg should consider the negative impact of repealing the long overdue reforms of the Affordable Health Care Act.

Linderman farms near Carrington, N.D.