Hugin Scorns ‘Obamacare’ as a Way of Identifying the Affordable Care Act

GLEN RIDGE – Bob Hugin began a Wednesday discussion on health care with a plea to take politics out of the debate.

Speaking at a roundtable of health professionals put together by his campaign at a doctor’s office in Glen Ridge, Hugin said he doesn’t like the idea of attaching someone’s name to a health care system.

So much for calling the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare.”

The name aside, there are things about the ACA to which Hugin objects.

He said not all that many people are covered through the health care exchanges and he sees the pricing structure as unfair to low and middle income people.

Yet on the other hand, Hugin says he supports not discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, parents keeping their kids on family insurance policies until age 26 and the expansion of Medicaid. These are all key parts of the ACA.

This very middle of the road approach may seem inconsequential, but it isn’t.

Republicans in Washington have spent a lifetime (OK, we’re exaggerating a bit) trying to repeal the dreaded Obamacare.

Rather than view Obamacare as the personification of all that is wrong with America, Hugin, to his credit, is talking about a more sensible course.

Hugin seemed most interested in ways to prevent people from getting sick in the first place. The sound bite he used was that he wanted “health care” as opposed to “sick care.”

There is a “wellness” part of the ACA that, for example, encourages seniors to get periodic tests for all sorts of ailments.

Hugin’s health policy would work to increase those efforts. And he said efforts already underway to that end have not gone far enough.

He said it’s encouraging that recent statistics show that the percentage of Americans who smoke is less than 20 percent. But he said that’s not good enough and that the number of smokers should be even lower than that.

Obesity is another problem. A former drug company CEO, Hugin ticked off some of the ailments caused by obesity, especially among seniors.

They include heart disease, hypertension and diabetes, not to mention an adverse impact on quality of life. Unless the obesity problem is solved, Hugin said he feared a “tsunami of (medical) expenses” down the road treating people who are overweight.

The host for Wednesday’s event, cardiologist Bart DeGregorio, offered a sobering assessment as to why health care is such a challenge. He said a patient’s desire  to stay well is not always shared by insurance companies.

“You can’t have a stress test unless you have chest pains,” he said, adding that most insurance companies would not pay for one otherwise.

Hugin is also concerned with how life ends.

He said both private and public health care professionals should strongly encourage their patients to have end of life directives.

Without that, millions of dollars are spent on health care for people who don’t really want it, he said.

He used his 98-year-old mother to illustrate the point. He said his mother has let it be known that if she can no longer “get out of bed without help,” she would not want advanced care to keep her alive.

Listening to this, one could not help but remember how Sarah Palin compared the ACA’s encouragement of end of life discussions to “death panels.”

Hugin likes to say he’s a different kind of Republican. On this issue, at least, he parts company with the kooky Palin.

And no matter what your politics, that’s a good thing.

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One response to “Hugin Scorns ‘Obamacare’ as a Way of Identifying the Affordable Care Act”

  1. Hugin appears to be more aligned with ACA than he wants to admit. He has also posted some compelling reasons for electing him over Menendez without a credible response.

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