The Affordable Care Act was vilified — even though it stopped insurance company abuses and subsidized coverage for millions of people — because of the mandate that all be covered and small taxes on high earners which paid for the all the benefits.

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Donald Trump and the GOP made the demise of the ACA the centerpiece of their campaigns, touting cheaper, more comprehensive coverage without government “interference,” Now they (and we) are finding out that without a mandate and taxes, there is not enough money to pay for it. And if Trumpcare becomes law, huge numbers of people will be cut from Medicaid, and the poor and working class will see costs rise and coverage decrease.

We now appreciate the genius of the ACA and how well it worked. With a few tweaks, it could be even better. The GOP plan is a colossal failure. If basic health care is a right in this country, we have to pay for it.

Carol Kraines, Deerfield

Unfair attacks

U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., is under attack from, among others, the Sun-Times, for his perfectly logical contention that a health insurance policy that covers a man should not be expected to provide coverage for prenatal care.

Opponents of Mr. Shimkus’ reasonable contention predictably start their attack by screaming “Unfair!”, which is nearly always a canard wholly grounded in one’s perspective.

More interesting is Mr. Shimkus’ detractors’ follow-up argument, made as if they were suddenly imbued with a profound understanding of how insurance works, that insurance is about spreading risks and costs and that men should therefore pay for women’s prenatal care and women should pay for men’s prostate cancer treatments.

That can almost sound reasonable until one considers the nature of a risk. A risk exists only if there is a chance of something unexpected taking place. There is no chance of a man getting pregnant and needing prenatal care. Similarly, there is no chance of a woman developing prostate cancer and needing the appropriate treatment for that malady.

Yes, insurance is about spreading risks but only among those who face the particular risk being spread. A man faces no risk of getting pregnant and a woman faces no risk of developing prostate cancer. Therefore, to argue that a man’s insurance policy should cover prenatal care and a woman’s insurance policy should cover prostate cancer is akin to arguing that those who don’t drive should be required to buy car insurance and those who don’t own a home should buy homeowner’s insurance. After all, according to the “logic” of those who so decry Mr. Shimkus’ reasonable assertion, insurance is about spreading risk.

I almost hesitate to bring up the car and homeowner’s insurance analogy for fear of giving these newfound experts on the nature of insurance any ideas.

Mark M. Quinn, Naperville

No compassion

Regarding Monday’s column by Linda Chavez, I have just one observation: A free market has no interest in compassion. The recognition that health care is not a commodity exists in all other developed countries. I want my country to put the well-being of its people over the profits of the insurance industry.

Bonnie Gabel, Woodstock

Free these congressmen

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and our own congressman Peter Roskam, R-Ill., claim that their support for the Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act is really all about freedom. They will free us from the chains of affordable health insurance. And yet, they are themselves regrettably shackled, hand and foot, to a taxpayer-provided platinum health insurance plan.

Free Ryan and Roskam! Liberate the liberators! Let them enjoy the freedom of finding health insurance for their families in the same costly markets as the millions they will force from the relative security the ACA afforded.

Mike Malone, Glen Ellyn