I’m disappointed, but not surprised, upon reading Congressman Bruce Poliquin’s op-ed, in which he disparages the Affordable Care Act, blaming it for the dizzying upward spiral of premiums and deductibles (”Health care overhaul just the first step,” March 17). We should hold political representatives to a much higher standard of honesty, clarity, and depth when they lambaste government programs that are helping millions of people live higher quality lives.

Poliquin omits crucial information about the ACA, such as the fact that Republicans passed legislation greatly reducing what were termed “risk corridor provisions,” funds set aside to protect insurance companies against financial loss. He does not describe the ways ACA improved the quality of policies, protecting people against shoddy and inadequate coverage.

Poliquin does not discuss how hospitals receive incentives to reduce readmission rates, thus reducing patient costs, nor does he address the fact that with more people insured, hospitals are faced with fewer unpaid bills.

Another inconvenient fact Poliquin fails to address is the fear-mongering, alarmist propaganda mailed out by various political activist groups this past fall, discouraging people from signing up for Obamacare, thereby reducing the numbers of insured people. Additionally, if Poliquin were our only source, we would not know that Anthem Healthcare attempted to buy out Cigna, and Aetna sought to purchase Humana, but both were prohibited by the Obama administration, as these buyouts would have reduced competition even further.

The provision of subsidized health insurance for freelancers, consultants, the self-employed, and part-time workers helped improve the health and well-being for Americans; if oil companies and big agriculture merit government assistance, why not the lowly citizen?

The ACA needs to be improved, not repealed; perhaps a start would be for Poliquin to place as much value on people as he does on serving corporate interests.

Susan Melcher

Mount Vernon

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