UT faculty member discusses merits of Affordable Care Act

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In an op-ed published Saturday in the Austin American-Statesman, management senior lecturer Kristie Loescher highlighted the positive contributions of the Affordable Care Act.

According to Loescher, before the ACA, access to health insurance kept people at unfulfilling jobs and hindered entrepreneurial innovation. Furthermore, basic health needs were often neglected due to a lack of employer coverage, exacerbating issues such as cancer and diabetes down the line.

Loescher said that McCombs faculty teach students the process of business operations management.  

“We tell them, ‘Your process won’t go faster than the slowest part of it,’” Loescher said. “As a community, if we have people who go without health care and who suffer ill-health … that hurts the community because that means that those people aren’t buying products, they aren’t participating in the community, and their children aren’t doing well.”

Further complications can occur in certain states when people who don’t qualify for Medicaid don’t receive insurance from an employer and can’t afford other coverage, leaving individuals to pay for sometimes outrageous medical bills out-of-pocket, Loescher said in her article.

“We don’t have universal access, we pay more, and we get poorer quality for it — why are we protecting this system?” Loescher said. “It’s broken. The market has had all these decades to fix it, and it hasn’t worked. We’ve got to make the decisions at a national level and provide access for all.”

While Loescher supports the ACA, many Republicans in Congress are advocating for its repeal. 

Biochemistry sophomore Mahima Ginjupalli, a member of UT’s Medical Ethics and Global Healthcare organization, said she does not support the repeal of ACA.

“I think that if the (ACA) is repealed, it’s going to increase the deficit and it’s going to leave 20 million people without health care, and I don’t think that’s good,” Ginjupalli said. “There are problems involving it, but I feel like repealing it is not really the way to go.”

Public health junior Tonia Wu, an Alliance for Health Reform intern, is currently working on this issue in D.C. while doing upper division policy work with the UT Archer Fellowship program.

“It’s not perfect — the legislation was designed to help a struggling health care industry for a couple more years so that they could continue to reform further down the line,” Wu said.