In the article “Elusive numbers make it hard to grade state’s health coverage” [Local News, March 22] the writer rightly points out the difficulty of measuring the impact of the Affordable Care Act in terms of numbers of policies or people.
It’s questioned how many of the new enrollees were new to health insurance, or simply previously covered people now enrolling in new policies. All this is true, but it is important to go beyond the numbers.
The new policies are qualitatively superior to the older policies, with a new emphasis on preventive care, including vaccinations and cancer screening. This is an important reorientation from illness care to comprehensive health care. In the end, we are all healthier.
The ACA also includes a number of cost-saving measures, including electronic records that promise to increase the efficiency of the health system and enable patients to move from provider to provider, state to state, with no loss of continuity in their care.
I do hope that The Seattle Times’ reporters will follow up the “numbers” article with another on the qualitative improvements expedited by the Affordable Care Act.
Constance A. Hellyer, Seattle