That's the consensus of several Central Illinoisans in a series of interviews. But how Obamacare, which has been the law for several years, should be changed is where opinions vary.
That's OK, residents said. Because they agreed on something else:
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After the election,
"It definitely needs to be modified," said
"If this (Obamacare) is the best they could come up with after working on it for several years, then we need to get some fresh minds to work on it," she said.
"It's an imperfect law but it could be made significantly better if there is a desire by the politicians to do so," said
"All the entities are trying to control rather than working together to make it happen," said
Health care is the third topic in a five-part series published by The Pantagraph,
Changes in health care aren't easy because the debate over health care -- specifically the Affordable Care Act -- reflect broader American societal friction, observed
"All societies have friction. But we are an extremely dynamic society that is changing right now. And every group has legitimate concerns about how they fit into society as a whole," said Shea, a
"We're having a helluva time processing our societal frustrations," said Shea, who was a JFK Democrat, become a Republican and now describes himself as an independent.
Shea, known as "Mr. T" to students who he voluntarily tutors in the after-school program at
"They need to get to know people who are different from them, which is the only way to end discrimination," Shea said.
Shea enjoys his work at
"When a kid calls out 'Hey, Mr. T' and gives me a hug, you can't put a price on that."
What does all that have to do with modifying Obamacare? It illustrates that when diverse people work together for the common good, good things happen, he said.
Schaad ("Shade"), a
"Some of the people I see here (at
"I don't think we should do away with the Affordable Care Act," Schaad said. "It was a beginning and needs to be improved upon. I like that many more people have health care. My concern is with the insurance companies now backing out.
"The government needs to work with insurance companies to make it equitable for the insurance companies while making it affordable to patients and while working with medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies to bring costs down," Schaad said. "This takes communicating and compromise."
Politicians, bureaucrats, insurers and medical and pharmaceutical company representatives who want motivation to work together should go on medical mission, she suggested.
"Rather than appreciate what we have (in
Emery recently left
She called the Affordable Care Act "a good start" and believes the next step should be nationalized health care -- a single payer, government system. Emery also favors price controls on the pharmaceutical industry.
"With a government program, there always is the risk of fraud," Emery conceded. "But there is fraud on the private insurance side, we just don't know about it.
What about the high cost of a government-run program?
"We pay for it one way or another -- through higher taxes or through higher premiums to an insurance company," Emery said.
Shea said "Anybody with a modicum of common sense about insurance knew that Obamacare was severely under-priced, allowed too many exemptions and was doomed to fail."
"Obamacare is a costly program with built-in tax consequences," said
"I believe everybody should have health insurance," Shea said.
To Shea, the answer is a single-payer system in which the remaining major health insurers consolidate into a single company regulated by the government.
"That would be a better alternative than a single-payer government institution," Shea said. "It would have to cover everyone without exception. The private institution would need to be allowed a profit margin and would need substantial fraud detection. It would need to be tried in a diverse, large state first.
"The leverage to be used by government (on the insurance industry) is 'We're going to a single payer with or without you. This is the only option to keep private insurance in the game.'" Shea observed.
"The leverage to government is 'This is as close (to government insurance) as you will get. (Without private insurance)
"Civilization will move whether we move or not," Shea said. "Our job is to move it in the right direction."
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