As a practicing physician, these are the observations I have on the Affordable Care Act.

I now see adult patients who previously never had medical coverage. I treat young adults for injuries because they are able to stay on their parents’ policies to age 26. Some patients who have complicated, expensive medical conditions no longer live in fear that they may lose their coverage. Our hospitals have a better chance to receive payment for services that they are required to deliver.

The ACA has its problems. Premiums and deductibles in many of the exchanges have risen significantly. Some of the requirements on hospitals and doctors are onerous. These are workable problems.

Undeniably, the ACA has raised the standards of the U.S. health care system. It is no longer acceptable that patients are denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, live in fear of medical bankruptcies or that a significant percentage of the population does not have access to the best medical care in the world.

When I hear politicians say the law has been a “disaster” and has denied people health care, I do not know what they are talking about.

Call it “repeal” or “repeal and replace” or simply change and improve the ACA, one thing is for sure — to repeal this system without a functioning alternative on Day 1 would be irresponsible. The public should hold legislators and the new president accountable for how they handle this standoff.

Are they doing what is politically expedient or looking out for all the people?

Dr. Paul Cain, Oxford

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